When the San Antonio Spurs sent DeMar DeRozan to Chicago for Thaddeus Young and other assets, I was initially somewhat disappointed. DeRozan was a true leader and an excellent presence during his time in San Antonio. I knew it was time for him to move on, but I wasn’t necessarily happy about it.
Moving on from DeRozan was the right basketball move to make, and Thaddeus Young could take his role and improve on it, eventually becoming an underrated part of the deal. Young has constantly been called a leader and the MVP of teams he’s been on.
In many ways, he reminds me of Jerami Grant, a borderline NBA All-Star forward who "led" the Pistons to a 20-52 record. Had Grant not been on the court, the record would have been even more brutal.
Jerami Grant and Thad Young are not guys you want as the centerpiece of your franchise. Both are very good roleplayers who can play with grit and hustle, but neither are NBA superstars. Luckily, the Spurs have the types of players Young should be surrounded by: young, determined, and energetic. Dejounte Murray, Derrick White, Lonnie Walker, Keldon Johnson, and Tre Jones have all voiced their hunger in one way or another, and Thad Young could be the veteran leader that helps this team over the hump.
The player comparison between Grant and Young isn’t perfect. Grant had a breakout year solely because he was “the man” in Detroit, and Young won’t get those opportunities in the Silver and Black. With some small and easy adjustments, though, Young could make a massive impact in San Antonio. There are three things he brings to the table immediately, and three things he could work on.