Well, the Michael Vick comeback train keeps rolling and it’s certainly an amazing return to glory for a player who hadn’t started a game since 2006 and spent 21 months in prison in the interim.
And now the Phillies have secured the front page headlines after stealing Cliff Lee from the clutches of the hated Yankess and returning him to the friendly confines of Citizens Bank Park.
Across the street though at the Wells Fargo Center, much less ink has been spilt over another former-Atlanta resident in the midst of a pretty remarkable comeback of his own. And while it might not be quite as impressive as number 7’s recent accomplishments, it certainly has us here at Philadunkia pumped for what lies ahead.
Thad Young had a nice rookie season. He shot 54% from the floor, posted a WP48 of 0.126 (Average is 0.1 for a vet, 0.04 for a rookie), produced 4.1 wins, and logged playoff minutes. And he was 19. The sky was the limit.
What did he do as a follow-up? Something no one saw coming.
He got much worse at everything.
Over the next two seasons, as his minutes rose his production fell. His field goal percentage dipped 70 points. His rebounds per 48 minutes fell by a pair. He turned it over more, he hit his foul shots less. Rim rattling dunks were replaced by ill-considered 3’s.
Last season was his nadir. He posted a WP48 of -0.029 and -1.3 wins. The once-promising Young had entered the Adam Morrison zone, and the Sixers, not coincidentally, entered the Lottery.
Despite Young’s fall, hopes were (relatively) high coming into the season. The Sixers brought in Doug Collins as coach and also added a hyper-productive young wing who promised to take the team to new levels. And that wing was…Thaddeus Young.
In an inexplicable reversal, through 23 games, Thad is third in the NBA in FG%. He’s improved on the boards. He’s shooting a career-best from the line. He’s halved his turnovers. He’s back.
He reached critical mass on Dec. 7 against the Cavs. He went 11/12 from the floor and 3/3 from the line for 26 points, pulled in 11 rebounds, swiped two steals, and turned the ball over all of zero times.
Now pick your jaw off the ground, dust it off, and listen to this: I spoke with the renascent Young on Friday night and wrote down what he said. We covered his resurgence, contract status, Evan Turner’s struggles, and Charles Barkley. You’re welcome.
Q and A after the J.