Sixers forward Thaddeus Young didn’t get the playing time he expected under new head coach Doug Collins, but was still very effective coming off the bench and finished third in the Sixth Man of the Year vote. His strong performance puts him in a good position to land a nice contract once the lockout is over – hopefully, he says, with the team that drafted him.
How’s been the summer so far?
Thaddeus Young: It’s been great. Just working out, putting some time in and having a lot of fun doing it. It’s unfortunate that we have a lockout going on, but hopefully both sides come to an agreement sooner than later.
Are you optimistic it’s going to happen sooner than later?
TY: Right now, I don’t know what to say. I can’t really speak too much about that. Hopefully it will get done sooner than later.
Do you kind of take the summer workouts a little easier knowing the season could start later in the year or not start at all?
TY: I think everybody is kind of pushing the workouts back a little bit and getting more time to rest instead of jumping straight to it. My situation is different being a free agent. I can’t really do a lot of contact work, so I do a lot of shooting.
Do you consider yourself a little unlucky because you’re entering free agency precisely the year that there’s a lockout?
TY: Yeah, very unlucky (laughs). There’s nothing you can do about it, just take it in stride and hope for the best. Me personally, I definitely don’t like the fact that we’re in a lockout situation and I’m a free agent in a lockout situation.
You met with your head coach Doug Collins a couple of weeks ago. What was the main topic of conversation?
TY: Just trying to figure out what’s best for the team and what the team needs. We talked about how the season went and stuff like that.
Your mindset right now is that you’re probably going to return to the Philadelphia 76ers next season?
TY: Right now my mindset is that anything can happen. Somebody may make you an offer that the Sixers don’t want to match. I really don’t want to think about it too much. It’s in the hands of my agents and I just let them take care of the situation. Hopefully we get something worked out sooner than later. I’d like to stay with Philadelphia, the team drafted me. I love the team and I love the city. It’s a great atmosphere.
What’s up with your three-point shooting? Are you still working on that part of your game or have you given up on that?
TY: The coach didn’t really want me to take three-point shots. But I work on every aspect of my game. I do the things I need to do to evolve my game to become a future superstar in this league.
You did pretty well in the minutes you were given this season, but you didn’t get as much playing time as previous years. Was it hard to take?
TY: Yes, it was very hard that sometimes I didn’t get the chance to actually play the minutes that I had played.
Do you feel like you’re an underrated player in the NBA?
TY: Yeah, I think I am. I think I’m definitely underrated by many people after all these years. But there’s a lot of different aspects to my game: I can take guys one-on-one, I can play guys out, I can dridbble… There’s a lot of things I can do out there.
You had the chance to sign a contract extension last summer, but you didn’t get one. Did that put any extra pressure or stress on you as a player?
TY: No, no extra stress or pressure at all. There’s not too many guys that actually sign extensions (before the rookie deal is over). I wasn’t worried about it or anything like that. When the deadline came and went, I was like, ‘Whatever, let’s go and play’.
This is the question everybody is asking NBA players right now… You’re a free agent, so you wouldn’t have any problem playing overseas if you wanted to. Do you see that happening if there’s a long lockout?
TY: I’m not sure. I haven’t discussed it with my agent yet, I can really say anything about it at this point.