The Toronto Raptors raised some eyebrows when they acquired Thad Young from the San Antonio Spurs right before the trade deadline. Giving up a first-round pick for a 33-year-old power forward on a team loaded with power forwards caught some fans a bit off-guard.
After just a few months in Toronto, Young has quickly become one of the most beloved players on the team. Providing an excellent veteran component to a squad that doesn’t have anyone else older than 30, Young’s sagely advice has played an enormous role in getting Toronto prepared for the postseason.
Young came to play in two of his more critical games against the Philadelphia 76ers, as he recorded 13 points in a Game 4 victory and made some big defensive stops in Game 5. He was one of Toronto’s primary weapons when it came to making sure that Joel Embiid was kept in check.
Masai Ujiri and the Raptors have some big decisions to make this offseason, with some notable names coming off of the books. Young’s playoff performance has proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that he has earned a spot in Toronto’s rotation as that veteran glue guy for 2022 and beyond.
Thad Young deserves a big contract from the Toronto Raptors.
The biggest question surrounding Toronto and its free agency plans at the moment centers around Young and Chris Boucher. With both playing the same position and both looking to cash in after solid seasons, the odds of keeping the duo together for 2022-23 and beyond don’t seem very promising.
If they have to keep one of these two, Young has proven to be an effective offensive player without demanding a high volume of shots. On defense, Ujiri and Nick Nurse can satisfy their fetishes for versatility and grit in the form of a wily veteran who profiles as a solid interior defender for the next few years.
Toronto allowed 3.4 fewer points per 100 possessions when Young was on the floor. If he can do that and make three or four shots every game, he’ll prove to be worth a multi-year deal.
The Raptors should try to make sure they can get both Boucher and Young back in the fold, but they shouldn’t overlook Young’s impact inside the locker room. This team is still young and could always use more experienced guidance. Young’s 2022-23 campaign could be even stronger with a full year in the system under his belt.
The Raptors will need to make peace with the fact that Young will likely be eyeing a championship. Signing a cheaper deal with the goal of getting a ring is very much in play. The Raptors must back up the Brinks truck to make sure Young is properly rewarded for his service last year.