Brooklyn Nets: Young has been the X-Factor


With the Brooklyn Nets finally starting to win games, it looks as if their roster is starting to gel and develop more chemistry. Brook Lopez is the obvious star of the team, and they have a solid group of starters and backups, but the x-factor this season has been Thaddeus Young, who is having the best year of his career.

Throughout Young’s time in the NBA, he has always been known for being able to score the ball at a very efficient rate. He plays power forward, but he has the quickness and handles of a small forward. He has been a matchup nightmare for a lot of teams, because he has the ability to shoot the mid range shot or drive to the hoop and finish strong. He also can lead fast breaks, as he has done so much already this season. Young has always been an asset to every team he has played on.

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However, despite having solid numbers throughout his career, he has finally exploded this season and shown just how high his ceiling can go. He is averaging more rebounds per game this season than any other year in his career, and he is scoring the second highest points per game of his career (tied with his 2008/2009 season). One interesting and remarkable stat for him has been the massive increase in his rebound percentage (what percent of available rebounds he gets when he is in the game). He is snagging 14.6 percent of the rebounds that he can get, which is 5 percent more than last season and 2.3 percent better than his second best season.

Nov 29, 2015; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets forward Thaddeus Young (30) shoots over Detroit Pistons forward Marcus Morris (13) during first half at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

Young has the ability to shoot from mid range or drive to the hoop, but his best offensive attribute is his ability in the post. Young is one of the best players in the league at using his pivot foot to gain separation, and he has done a terrific job at creating space for hook shots or layups when backing down a defender. Young’s post skills are similar to guys like Kevin Love and David Lee in that he will not overpower you, but he will use finesse to find a way to get past you. His quickness and great footwork help him get high percentage looks.

One area that Young gets completely overlooked in is his off ball defense. Young is a solid man to man defender, but where he excels this most is when he has opportunities to infiltrate passing lanes or take the ball away from an unsuspecting ball handler. Young has quick hands and terrific awareness, and he has been able to pick opposing players’ pockets, leading to a lot of fast break opportunities. The Nets don’t force a lot of turnovers, but when they do, Young usually players a part in it. His defensive mindset has already seemed to rub off on rookie Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, who has recently developed a knack for active hands and causing turnovers.

When looking at the Nets roster, it is difficult to figure out who the second option would be after Brook Lopez. With guys like Joe Johnson, Jarrett Jack, Andrea Bargnani, and Bojan Bogdanovic, the Nets do not have a lack of players who can score the ball. However, when the game is on the line or when the Nets need an big play, Thaddeus Young always delivers.