Bulls forward Thaddeus Young has already grabbed the leadership role
It was an easy transition for Young to go from free-agent veteran to locker room voice, and so far the entire roster is buying what he’s selling.
NBA training camps usually need to be navigated with a bit of skepticism.
The Bulls more than others.
Is the organization selling future success or simply selling false hope? Is all the talk about building September chemistry a sign of good things to come or delaying the inevitable when adversity hits?
What’s real and what’s not real?
That’s why veteran Thaddeus Young is such a breath of fresh air.
There’s no mystery to him. The forward walks and talks like a leader, something his new teammates instantly realized when practices started.
“I’ve only had like three or four practices with him but I already felt that leadership that he brings to this team,’’ guard Tomas Satoransky said of Young. “A lot of the young guys will listen to him. He’s also in his 13th season, taking charges, leading by example, but also can teach those young players how to approach the game and how to take care of themselves outside of the court. So I really like that.’’
According to Satoransky, it isn’t like Young had to come in for September workouts and make a declaration that he would be the leader. He just is.
He was in Philadelphia and he was in Indiana, where they are still singing his praises of being a culture changer.
That’s Young’s DNA.
“Energy, leadership, that veteran leadership that the team needs,’’ Young said of his makeup. “Being a vocal guy that’s going to speak up when we’re doing it wrong. Hold everybody accountable, including myself, it starts with me holding myself accountable. Going out there each and every day, and when these guys see a guy who’s going into his 13th season going just as hard, taking charges, and diving on the floor for loose balls and stuff like that, it makes them want to go out there and do the same thing.
“Making sure that my teammates are being led the right way and make sure I’m helping them grow their games the right way.’’
Basically, the anti-Jabari Parker.
Think about it — at this time last season, the Bulls were a week into training camp, with Fred Hoiberg as coach and the disastrous signing that was Parker already poisoning the water. Many in the organization felt that within those first few months, Parker’s laziness and mopey attitude had Zach LaVine heading down the wrong path.
Considering the $78 million commitment they made with LaVine, something had to change. Coach Jim Boylen’s hard-nosed style replaced Hoiberg, and Parker was eventually traded for Otto Porter Jr.
The significance of that?
Porter was making more money than LaVine annually, but he also was doing whatever was asked of him by the coaching staff.
Porter reiterated that mentality again on Tuesday.
“That’s called being professional — being coachable,’’ Porter said. “That’s the biggest thing, especially with younger guys that are learning, just being coachable, being professional. That’s our job.’’
And now there’s another voice to emphasize that message in the Bulls’ locker room, and with Young, an even louder one.
Yes, Young could have signed elsewhere and been guaranteed a playoff run at age 31. Instead, he felt the calling to join the Bulls — not that three years, $43 million hurt.
“I want to be a part of this, I want to be a part of helping them build something great, building a new culture and just being a leader out there for these guys and just showing them how to win and showing them how we can get ourselves to the playoffs,’’ Young said. “That was one of the biggest things, was taking on that challenge and being ready to go out there and do the unexpected.’’