Thad Young’s speech at basketball camp will hype up Raptors fans

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 were able to make some noise in the Eastern Conference last year thanks to a very unique collection of young stars that played their role expertly. Still, Masai Ujiri was willing to trade for Thad Young in order to get some experienced backbone.

Young, who was acquired for the San Antonio Spurs in exchange for a first-round pick, signed a two-year contract with the Raptors this offseason after bouncing around between a handful of teams that never helped him chase his goal of being a champion. Toronto gave him the opportunity to compete.

Young may have come into the NBA as a lottery pick in Philadelphia with tons of hype, but you don’t have one of the longest careers in NBA history based purely on physical skills and pre-draft hype. A certain level of grit and intuition is needed, as Young tried to explain to a collection of campers.

Young got anyone with a pulse fired up thanks to a rousing speech in which he praised working hard and being devoted to the craft of playing basketball professionally. You don’t sign five NBA contracts without that level of raw drive and desire to continue thriving despite the ravages of time.

Toronto Raptors: Thad Young is an inspiring speaker.

Young has averaged 12.8 points and 5.8 rebounds per game in his career, though he would be hard-pressed to hit those per game numbers again, given what his role on the Raptors is going to be. That doesn’t mean that he is just going to be coming in at the end of games that are decided.

Young showed that he can still be a pesky defender in the NBA thanks to a tireless motor and intimate knowledge of the game’s finer points. Toronto will use those skills to stand out in an Eastern Conference that will take no prisoners after a rapid improvement.

That ability to adapt and continue to change his game has helped Young last for as long as he has. While the Raptors do have their eyes set on another playoff birth, this is very much a young team that is still trying to work through some developmental kinks. Could you imagine a better leader at this juncture than Young?

Young could have had his pick of contenders to rejoin as he chases a ring, but he chose Toronto. From a cultural point of view, Toronto has always preached versatility, hard work, and constant improvement. No wonder Young fit like a glove as soon as he arrived.

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