The addition of Thaddeus Young this offseason will do a lot to move the San Antonio Spurs forward and could go down as one of the most underrated offseason moves of 2021. The Spurs were expected to make massive moves this summer and it initially seemed like the front office had failed to make waves, but adding Young could do wonders.
That being said, he isn’t a perfect player. Very good? Absolutely. Valuable to any team that has him? Yes, of course. But the veteran could take massive steps this season to solidify himself as one of the best roleplayers in the league. But to become a more well-rounded player and playmaker, Young needs to focus on three key areas.
Thaddeus Young needs to remain a playmaker
Last season, Thaddeus Young averaged 4.8 assists, which is the perfect number for his position. Before 2021, his highest number of assists in a season was 2.5. Playing with a knockdown shooter like Zach LaVine will improve anyone’s passing numbers, and with scorers like Devin Vassell, Lonnie Walker, Dejounte Murray, and Derrick White around him, Young should be able to keep this pace.
The Spurs finished 14th in assists per game last year, which is fine, but more ball movement is always a good thing. If Young can keep up his improving passing and the Spurs actually knock down shots, Young could be a very important piece to the Spurs retaking their crown as the most unselfish franchise in the league.
If Young returns to his earlier career numbers, I have a strong feeling he’ll get run out of town. Spurs fans are crying to go younger, and giving the ball to a veteran for him to score at will is not the way to win hearts and minds. Young has proven he can be a leader and a teacher, but he just needs to keep playing that way. Otherwise, San Antonio may have a problem.
It’s not just about assist numbers. It’s about proving you can give up taking a shot so a teammate can take a better one. If Young manages to average around five assists a night or at least sets people up for open looks, he could be the second coming of Boris Diaw. A big who can put the ball on the floor, score, and find the open man like a point guard.
Last year he showed he’s capable. He just needs to maintain it.