Not that long ago, Thaddeus Young arrived in Philadelphia as a wide-eyed rookie.
Now, he's the longest-tenured player on the Sixers.
Young will be entering the 2013-14 season as a team leader, while preparing to play for his fifth coach in seven seasons. Former San Antonio Spurs assistant Brett Brown took over for Doug Collins in the offseason.
With this group, the playoffs seem like light years away.
"I think we're going to surprise people," Young said. "We have a hard-working group of players here willing to sacrifice. But I will say that it's tough. The franchise made some moves and guys got hurt last season. Things didn't go as planned. In the NBA, that happens. You have to be professional and go about your business because you never know what's going to happen."
Young is the ultimate professional, the type of player willing to do anything for his team. That type of leadership will be needed this season.
"I'm going to be there, leading by example," Young said. "I'll bring the energy and effort every night. You have to do that in this league. You have back-to-backs, tough road trips, tough opponents all the time. There's no down time. It's a 24-7 job."
Most experts are picking the Sixers to finish in the bottom tier of the league.
"Our job is to play and perform to the best of our ability," he said. "I've seen what the guys can do. I know we're going to surprise people."