At just 25 years old, Sixers forward Thaddeus Young is about to find out what it's like to truly be a leader.
When the team parted ways with All-Star point guard Jrue Holiday in a draft-night trade with New Orleans, Young immediately became the new face of the Sixers' franchise.
He must lead the young team into yet another rebuilding year, only this time with more authority as the longest-tenured player on the roster.
"I come out every year with the mindset of playing my hardest," said Young. "The past few years I've been speaking up in the locker room and letting guys know how I feel or what I think we should be doing, and it's a matter of just having that confidence ... I've already been texting Nerlens [Noel] and Mike [Carter-Williams] and letting them know like, 'Look, you young guys are going to have to come in and play right away and you're going to have to be ready.'"
Noel, a 6-foot-11 center out of Kentucky, was acquired from the Pelicans, along with a 2014 first-round draft selection. A lot is expected from Noel, a 19-year-old recovering from a torn ACL in his left knee that kept him out the majority of last season. Noel's acquisition made it easy for the Sixers to part ways with colossal bust Andrew Bynum.
Young's also trying to send advice to Carter-Williams, the Sixers' other first-round pick. He struggled at the Orlando Pro Summer League, where he averaged 13.6 points, 4.2 rebounds and 6.8 assists while shooting just 27-percent shooting and giving away 4.8 turnovers per game.
"I'd probably tell him [Carter-Williams] to slow himself down a little bit," said Young. "He's doing very well distributing the ball, but he's also turning the ball over a lot. He just has to keep his turnovers down and, when the ball's swung to him at the top of the key, he should be taking those open looks and not passing them up."
Despite the growing pains, which Young expects, he's excited about the talent that's there and what the Sixers could eventually become.
"When you look at the guys that we drafted and think about a couple years from now, it could be a crazy team," Young said. "There's so much time to grow and build and strengthen the team to where we want it to be."
Young brings his 2nd Annual Youth Basketball Skills Camp to Girard College on Aug. 5-8. The camp is for boys and girls ages 7-17. Registration is $225 per camper.
"I like being able to teach the kids and help them expand their game," Young said. "At the end of the day, I want these kids to also get to know me, apart from just seeing me on TV."