Thaddeus Young has been a rock for the Sixers all season, combining leadership with consistent play. Credit: Getty Images
Twenty-two different players have suited up in a 76ers uniform this season.
Coaches have come and gone in recent years.
Through it all, Thaddeus Young has remained with the franchise. His work ethic, consistency, resilience, character, etc, is everything that any team would want in a player. He has become the longest-tenured player here, which is rather amazing.
Young lifted the Sixers into the Eastern Conference semifinals where they lost to the Boston Celtics in a gut-wrenching seven-game series two years ago. And he has suffered through the team’s league-tying 26-game losing streak this season.
Young remains unfazed. He just goes out and plays as hard as he possibly can every single night.
“I’m a professional and that’s the way you need to handle your business,” Young was saying recently. “You can’t go out and give a half-hearted effort. I worked so hard to get here and will always carry myself that way. I think the tough part for me has been seeing teammates leave, guys who went to battle with me night in and night out. That’s been tough. The losing has been hard, but we have to fight through it and give it our all.”
Since Evan Turner and Spencer Hawes were dealt at the trade deadline, Young has elevated his level of play and become a true leader in every sense. His production is up virtually across the board, but so is his intensity.
During pregame introductions, Matt Cord announces Young’s name last. With that comes added responsibility.
“I’ve always played with a high level of energy, but this season has been kind of crazy with all the moves and all the young guys,” Young said. “I’ve tried to take that role as a team leader and do everything I can. I’ve been a little more vocal at times. I’m a competitor and don’t like to lose, but I think we all understand the plan of building for the future. As long as I’m here, I’m going to take as much as possible on my shoulders to lead this group.”
When the regular season concludes and the playoffs begin, Young will take a well-deserved amount of time to rest. He’d rather be playing, but it won’t happen this season.
“It is what it is,” Young said. “The season has been pretty crazy and we’ll see what happens down the road in the draft and free agency and everything in the summer. Then I’ll get ready to come back to work.”