Hop on the Thadwagon before it ducks under you before floating a lefty hook over your outstretched arms. You’ve been warned.
Young still has his athleticism — here’s proof positive — but he’s reserved it for key moments, choosing instead to use his quickness on the floor to cut to the basket and find easy looks.
Young isn’t the communicator or interior defender that Garnett is, but having him in the lineup helps the Nets re-ignite some semblance of last year’s “longball” lineup. “Active hands” is his calling card: Garnett’s exhumed body wasn’t able to guard anyone faster than the average NBA power forward, but Young’s big enough to guard the David Wests of the league, quick enough to switch in a pinch if needed, and dogged in pursuit of loose balls.
The common turn of phrase is that having Thaddeus Young has made Brook Lopez’s life easier. That’s true: Young’s versatility on defense frees up Lopez to stick near the rim, and having Young as a dive man in the pick-and-roll allows Lopez to hang near the rim and gobble those offensive rebounds.
But it’s an equal relationship: with Lopez on the floor drawing in defenders left and right, it’s opened the floor for Young to experiment with different looks on offense, and sneak around defenders who aren’t focusing on him. Just remember that last play against the Toronto Raptors Friday, when Patterson abandoned Young to double-team Lopez on the offensive glass — letting Young slide right in for the tip-in.
He’s not a big-time three-point shooter despite his early hot streak, and he’ll have some issues with bigger players. But in Thaddeus Young, the Nets have finally found the power forward to complement Brook Lopez they’ve been looking for.