Virtually every night, Thaddeus Young is battling a player bigger and stronger. He’ll routinely defend power forwards that are 2-3 inches taller and 20-30 pounds heavier.
And he’ll never complain. The 6-foot-8 Young just goes out and plays his gritty style — finding ways to finish around the basket without a play ever being run for him.
He’ll take charges, run the court, rebound, defend and do everything necessary to help the Sixers win. Now in his sixth season, Young has taken on a leadership role as a captain, along with All-Star Jrue Holiday.
“Everybody who is my height in this league and is trying to play power forward at times wishes they had a few more inches on their frame,” Young said. “I am what I am and I’m not going to get taller now. I just go out and do all I can with what I have. I spent a lot of time in the offseason getting stronger and working on my conditioning.”
Since coach Doug Collins took over in 2010, he has become enamored with Young. That admiration is even stronger now.
“He wants to win and do things the right way,” Collins said. “He does it with dignity every day and that’s a coach’s dream.”
Young continues to play 35-plus minutes every night, probably the biggest adjustment for him this season. In the past, he was known as a sixth man extraordinaire.
While the Sixers have been struggling mightily in recent weeks, Young believes the team can still turn things around.
“We haven’t gotten off to the start we expected and we’ve had a problem starting games,” said Young, who chipped in 10 points during the Sixers’ 97-80 win over New York Saturday night. “We feel like we should have more wins than we do. We’ll keep fighting, scrapping and clawing. That won’t change for us.”