Phoenix Suns fans got to start their Tuesday with some great news as the team is adding Thaddeus Young to its frontcourt depth, first reported by ESPN’s Woj.
Free agent F Thaddeus Young is finalizing a deal to join the Phoenix Suns, sources tell ESPN. More veteran, frontline depth for the Suns’ stretch and playoff run. Young has spent the past two-plus seasons with the Toronto Raptors. pic.twitter.com/Ilyq2leTx2— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) February 13, 2024
Spending the last two calendar years with the Toronto Raptors, Young — who has played 96% of his minutes this year at center and could take the backup job from Drew Eubanks — has a career-low usage rate of 12.6% this season, breaking career-low rates of 13.5% and 16.0% in the two prior years.
He is still very effective in the opportunities he gets, though, ranking in the 94th percentile across the league when it comes to Synergy’s “points per possession + assists” category.
Young — who was at the top of my buyout wish list — fits into a mold the Suns like of playmaking bigs and forwards, joining players like Jusuf Nurkic, Kevin Durant, Royce O’Neale and Bol Bol. Young’s overall versatility is illustrated hilariously by an all-time graphic.
The Raptors are getting Thad Young from the Spurs for Goran Dragic— SB Nation (@SBNation) February 10, 2022
And if this graphic is any indication, Toronto is the clear winner pic.twitter.com/0sKEUJ1BDD
Young hasn’t been a 3-point threat for some time now, attempting fewer than 50 in each season since 2019-20 but he was a serviceable 34.9% on 667 attempts over the four years prior. Whether Frank Vogel and the Suns’ coaching staff empower him to get back to that will be something to monitor.
If not, nearly two-thirds of Young’s shots this season have come at the rim, which is an area Phoenix can always improve. There, the 6-foot-8, 225-pound forward is shooting a very solid 65.5% at the rim.
This season Young’s game highs look like 16 points, eight rebounds, seven assists and three steals, and he’s never gone above two turnovers in a game.
The 35-year-old forward is one of the last remaining players from the 2007 draft in which Young was selected 12th overall; the other four left were all selected in the top five — Suns’ Durant, Al Horford, Mike Conley and Jeff Green.
Young has spent his 16-year career across seven franchises and was traded from Toronto to the Brooklyn Nets on trade deadline day before Brooklyn waived him.
Phoenix had until Feb. 22 to fill at least one roster spot, and because he was making a base salary of $8 million — below the mid-level exception of ~$12.5 million — the second-apron Suns were able to sign him.
The Suns do still have one more roster spot open.