The Phoenix Suns made another roster move early on Tuesday, with Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reporting that they are going to sign Thaddeus Young from the buyout market. At 35-years-old and having spent an impressive 17 seasons in the league for seven organizations, Young is most certainly a veteran.
He has also spent the last five seasons playing for middling or rebuilding teams, with his two year stint with the Raptors being preceded with stops in San Antonio with the Spurs, and the Chicago with the Bulls. But the move to The Valley represents a great chance not only for Young to contend for a championship, but to actually contribute to the success of the roster as well.
With Young on his way to the Suns, will he actually help this team to win, and will he be able to crack their postseason rotation?
It is almost ironic, as Young was one of the three players this writer recently said the organization should avoid trying to sign. The logic behind this thinking was that the idea of having Young on a team has generally been better than the reality. On paper he looks like the kind of big-bodied veteran who defends well that a contender needs.
But Young has moved around a lot, never truly settling after being let go by the frachise that drafted him way back in 2007, the Philadelphia 76ers. Career averages of 12.2 points on a shade of 32 percent shooting from 3-point range are only so-so as well. Then again, Young isn't being brought in to shoot the lights out.
But the above tweet from Shane Young may give us more of an insight into why the Suns felt the need to sign Young up for the postseason run. He may be thought of as a power forward - he has been listed as such throughout his entire career - but he is also capable of playing some backup center minutes. Or has been the case with the Raptors this season, a lot of center minutes.
Right now the Suns have Jusuf Nurkic and Drew Eubanks as part of their frontcourt depth. David Roddy was added to the mix at the trade deadline, while Bol Bol is a big man in theory, but the reality is that there's a crafty guard trapped in that long body. With Chimezie Metu shipped out as part of the deal that netted the Suns Royce O'Neale, it felt like they were a body short.
Which is where Young comes in. He has only started 16 regular season games since 2020, and would be good to take up some minutes if Nurkic happened to miss any time through injury. To this point it has been fantastic to remain as healthy as he has - barely missing any time and being everything former center Deandre Ayton was not - but you have to commend the Suns for being proactive here.
Just because Nurkic hasn't gone down, doesn't mean he won't. To have a veteran like Young ready to go is a good idea, not least because Eubanks isn't good enough or consistent enough to start for the Suns. If he was, then they could forget any ideas they might have of being true contenders. Young isn't much of an upgrade, but he's got a lot more experience than Eubanks.
So although it is a move that perhaps wasn't met with complete enthusiasm around these parts when it was still just a possibility - now that the Suns have actually made the deal - you have to commend them for being active early in signing a player from the buyout market. There weren't many alternatives either, while the expectations for Young will be modest.
It will be interesting to see if either himself or Roddy play at the four - with Kevin Durant at the five - alongside three shooters in Devin Booker, Bradley Beal and Grayson Allen in the playoffs. Nurkic has already been sent to the bench for entire fourth-quarters when Durant has been used in this way, and the returns have been promising. Adding Young at this point then gives the Suns another look.