Chicago Bulls: Does Thaddeus Young deserve to be on a better team

(Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
(Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /

If the Chicago Bulls aren’t going to maximize what forward Thaddeus Young brings to the table, then it might be best served to trade him to a better team.

It is truly a shame how bad the Chicago Bulls were through about their first 27 or 28 games of the regular season. The Bulls did pick it up of late. They’ve won two in a row and four of their last six games. Those two wins in a row came over the Detroit Pistons and the Washington Wizards. But it took all the Bulls had to nab that win over the Wizards, which came on the road at Capital One Arena in overtime. And it was pretty lucky.

What’s the founding to all the Bulls struggles to start the regular season?

Maybe the Bulls have mostly solved their issues that plagued them so often really early on. But with head coach Jim Boylen still manning the bench and John Paxson and Gar Forman running the front office, some issues are still likely to persist.

GarPax made a handful of moves during the offseason that looked to be positives at the time. The five major additions to the Bulls roster haven’t panned out like they were supposed to thus far. The three major free agent signings haven’t been consistent. Boylen should be partly to blame for that, though.

A great example of a free agent signing that didn’t work out as planned so far is the former Indiana Pacers veteran forward Thaddeus Young. The 31-year-old New Orleans, LA, native is having about his worst season in the NBA, at least since he was a rookie. Young is averaging just 8.8 points per game, 4.3 rebounds, and 1.8 assists.

Moreover, Young is registering the worst box plus/minus rating of his career (-2.2) and the first ever value over replacement player rating of zero. He also sits with a negative number of offensive win shares for the first time in his 14 seasons in the NBA.

His true shooting percentage of 46.8 and 14.3 percent turnover rate are also the worst numbers of his lengthy career. There’s something up with Young this season, and he’s visibly unhappy with the role he’s found himself in the Windy City.

A report from Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times showed that Young is “not thrilled” with the role he has under Boylen and the Bulls so far this season.

Given his lack of production and playing time this season, Young is rightfully disappointed with how his tenure with the Bulls went so far. Only twice in his career has Young not been a regular starter on an NBA team. Even in the 2010-11 and 2011-12 seasons with the Philadelphia 76ers, Young was still playing in at least 26 minutes per game. Those were the two seasons where Young only started one game per year.

At this point, Young is down to 21.8 minutes per game. And he has yet to get a single start in a Bulls uniform this season. Young sits tied at No. 207 in the NBA this season in minutes played per game. The other player that has 21.8 minutes per game this season in the NBA is Dallas Mavericks shooting guard Seth Curry.

Why did the Bulls pay Young so much money during the offseason if they aren’t planning to play him in more than 22 minutes per game, or not even try him out as a starter?

The amount of playing time the Bulls are giving Young this season puts him in the realm of role players that tend to be deeper down NBA benches like Orlando Magic center Khem Birch, Toronto Raptors shooting guard Patrick McCaw, and Sacramento Kings wing Trevor Ariza. There’s no way that a $13 million man like Young should be playing that little.

Last season, Young was a regular contributor and starter on a playoff-caliber team like the Pacers. Young finished up with the second most win shares of his career last season (6.9), and started in all 81 games he played in.

Seeing that number of win shares decline from 6.9 to just 0.3 so far this season is a very steep decline. This type of trend has to be frustrating for Young, and highlights how poor the Bulls are using some of their newly acquired players this season.

All this regression in Young’s numbers at just 31-years-old shows that it might be time for a change. While the Bulls should try and see if actually playing Young more often and scheming him up better game in and game out turns around his numbers, a bigger change might be looming.

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If the Windy City is just not really working out for Young at all, then a complete change of scenery might be warranted. He’s commanding a large price tag for the lack of playing time that he is getting in a Bulls uniform. He could also still get a pretty good return for his services on the trade market.