Thad Young reveals secret to young Raptors’ recent hot stretch

PHILADELPHIA, PA - MARCH 20: Thaddeus Young #21 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - MARCH 20: Thaddeus Young #21 of the Toronto Raptors (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

The Toronto Raptors acquired Thad Young with the expectation that he could provide the same combination of on-court production and off-court leadership that Goran Dragic failed to exude. Given the results we’ve seen so far, Masai Ujiri’s latest trade appears to have been a success.

Young was at his best during an overtime win against the rival Boston Celtics. With Toronto in danger of dropping a game against a Celtics team that went into the game without most of their starters, Young made some incredibly clutch plays on both sides of the ball.

With Fred VanVleet and Gary Trent Jr. both nursing injuries, things went from bad to worse when Scottie Barnes and Pascal Siakam both fouled out. Young was one of many standouts on this team that stepped up and made sure that this motley crew of 6-8 forwards continued to pull off impressive victories.

Young cites the fact that the team is “just having fun” as one of the main reasons that Toronto has been able to win eight of their last 10 games. Don’t assume that the Raptors have lost sight of the ultimate goal, however. Young claimed that these last few weeks are being taken “super serious” as they look to make noise in the playoffs.

Thad Young and the Raptors are having fun.

Young played for 27 minutes and scored 12 points against Boston, both of which set new personal bests for him in his Raptors career. With eight rebounds, three assists, and three blocks to his name, Young was integral in making sure that Toronto was able to fight back into this game.

While Young only takes 1.5 3-pointers per game, he’s making them at a 43% clip. He might not be the most dynamic on-ball defender in the world, but last night proved that his veteran instincts and intuition can help him raise the floor of this defense.

Young said that some of the younger Raptors continue to ask him questions, particularly on the defensive end. While it’s hard to quantify what an experienced sounding board like Young can bring to the table, quotes like this and performances like his night against Boston show the value of having him as one of the first guys off the bench.

While Dragic was going to Heat games due to his extended absence from the team, Young has taken on a very active role in making sure Toronto can sustain their success in the final few games of the regular season. You can’t put a price on that.

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