|Thad Young wants the three spot. (Getty Images)|
Thaddeus Young has resisted playing power forward for years. Dating to 2008, he wanted to play what he feels is his more natural position at small forward for Philadelphia. He has size advantages at small forward and the athleticism to hang at that spot. But his coaches have always leaned toward dropping him at the 4. Because of the Sixers' need for depth, Young routinely has been used off the bench as a backup power forward who had the ability to stretch the floor.
When asked by CSN whether starting was important, Young told the TV outlet:
"It's very important. Whether you're going to come off the bench or whether you're going to start, it's a whole different preparation for the game. I definitely want to become a starter, I definitely want to be a starter, and I'm definitely going to work hard enough to become that starter. But at the end of the day it's all about what coach wants and what the team needs. I've been a player that's been willing to do that each and every year. Hopefully this is the year that I get back into that starting role and strive for success. "
One problem. Philadelphia coach Doug Collins still wants him to come off the bench and still wants him at power forward. From CSN in August:
“I'd like to continue to play Thad off the bench. I like his energy and his attitude he brings to us,” Collins said when the team introduced Bynum and Jason Richardson.
“From all the reports I got, he has his weight up to 229 pounds — he finished the season at 215,” Collins said. “The one thing with Thad is, if you put him with a big guy that protects him, it makes him much better. So we think he's going to be even better with Kwame [Brown] and Andrew, who is going to be an even bigger help with the speed and quickness he plays with. Thad is going to be a big part of what we do.”
That second quote doesn't sound like he's looking at small forward for Young, instead of talking about how he wants his weight up, and wants him to use his quickness advantage at the 4 instead of his size advantage at the 3. Young clearly doesn't want this. In the past, he has felt that he has more advantages at the 3 and playing that position plays to his strengths. There's also likely the fact that if you're an undersized 4 in this league, you get beaten up physically on a nightly basis.
Young wants to do the beating, not receive it.
CSN also reports Collins is likely to start Evan Turner at the vacant spot at small forward. That's curious because Turner's best moments last season were playing point forward. A lineup of Jrue Holiday-Turner-Young-Spencer Hawes/Lavoy Allen-Andrew Bynum puts the most talent on the floor for Philadelphia, but Collins has always wanted more compliments in his lineups rather than raw ability and is likely understandably concerned about the dropoff when he goes to the bench.
So Young, after putting in so many years for the Sixers, is likely to remain a reserve and, in his mind, out of position. It'll be interesting to see whether he continues to play the good soldier in that role or if it creates friction in the new-look Sixers.
It should be mentioned, the top three lineups in plus/minus for the Sixers, according to NBA.com featuring Young, had him at the power forward position.