Thaddeus Young does his work in close — 77.6 percent of his shot attempts last season came within 10 feet of the rim. He may be a bit undersized for the four spot at 6’8″, but he’s a creative finisher who gets the job done inside. With the Pacers Young should have room to drive and create inside as the other expected starters — Jeff Teague, Monta Ellis, Paul George, and Myles Turner — all can space the floor with their shot.
Still, Young has been working on his jumper, staying after workouts to get in some extra reps according to a story on the Pacers official website. Which is good, his shot needed it — he shot 23.3 percent from three last season in Brooklyn (a big drop from the 33 percent he shot the season before). The Pacers are going to give him some freedom to shoot from there, according to a coach Nate McMillan.
“It depends on who the coach is,” (Young) said. “Some coaches give you freedom to do certain things and some coaches don’t.”
Says McMillan: “We’re going to have to let him go there some.”
Probably not a lot, however, which is as much about the team makeup than Young’s shot. With all the shooting on the outside, including from the center, the Pacers need someone to work inside and be a threat. Young can provide that balance, he can be the glue guy inside.
If Young gets comfortable, this becomes the best Pacers team in years. I have them projected fourth in the East this season, but if they finished as high as second — behind Cleveland but ahead of Boston and Toronto — it would not be a shock. Indiana won 45 games last season then upgraded the roster with Teague and Young, plus Turner continues to mature. This team could win in the low 50s in games, and it could go so far as to make the Conference Finals.