There are two names out there on the market that make a ton of sense to me for Phoenix specifically: Thaddeus Young and Larry Nance Jr. I’ve long been on the Larry Nance to Phoenix train, but Thaddeus might actually be an even better fit and somehow more criminally underrated than Larry is.
There have been rumblings that Phoenix could be interested in both of these players via trade, which would likely include some package of Jalen Smith, Dario Saric, and a future 2nd round pick or two.
Phoenix’s depth chart is still lacking a “bigger” forward that can play up to the 4 or occasional small-ball 5 in the playoffs when necessary. Both Young and Nance fit that bill perfectly and would complete a perfectly balanced roster.
Thad Young’s Fit: Perfect
- Measurables: 6’8″ – 7’1″ wingspan – 235 lbs. – 33 years old
- Statistics: 12.1 PPG, 6.2 RPG, 4.3 APG, 1.1 SPG, 0.6 BPG on 55/26/62 shooting splits.
- Team Role: Swiss Army Knife + Defensive Menace
He is an elite defender that can guard nearly every position on the court with the type of tenacity that would make it a seamless transition into what Phoenix likes to do.
Young was traded to the San Antonio Spurs in a deal that has yet to be officially completed, leaving some speculation that it could potentially become a three-team deal. That’s where Phoenix should swoop in and get the deal done.
The package (as noted above) would likely include both Dario Saric and Jalen Smith along with a future 2nd round pick or two. San Antonio doesn’t really have a need for Young, so why not take a swing on developing Smith in your system while Saric sits a year to become an expiring contract upon his return in 2022-23.
Young tweeted out a heartfelt message to Chicago fans a few days ago: “Thank u all for embracing my family and me the past 2 years! When I signed there I envisioned us all as a family rising together back to contending. I tried my best to honor that during my time there by giving you my all. This is the part of the business that’s always tough.”
Contending you say? Well, Phoenix would love to add you into the mix to contend for a title and defend their status as Western Conference Champions.
Where will he get minutes?
It might be tough to find the proper amount of minutes for him, Jae Crowder, and Cameron Johnson.
You could actually make a case that he (Young) is a better overall player than Jae right now. Young’s lone weakness is shooting, both from three-point range and the charity stripe. That could make things complicated in terms of closing out lineups in the playoffs with Thad and Deandre from a spacing perspective, but if defense is the priority then he could definitely close games. It would be a great problem to have for Monty Williams.
They can figure out the minute distribution over the course of an 82-game season coming off a deep playoff run plus shortened offseason. Injuries happen, COVID protocols, foul trouble, etc. If you build to withstand those issues now, you will likely end up as a top 2 seed in the Western Conference again and secure home-court advantage in the first round.
Projected Depth Chart
This would be the most complete team from top-to-bottom in the NBA in my estimation. The versatility across the board in both their first and second units would give them a ton of flexibility in both the regular season and the playoffs.
A bench mob of Payne, Shamet, Johnson, Young, and McGee?! Yes, please.
Closing Statement: Get it done, James Jones. Whatever it takes.