It is one of the highest compliments Jim Boylen could pay to one of his players.
“Thad’s a pro,’’ the Bulls coach has said several times when discussing veteran forward Thaddeus Young.
That professionalism, however, has been tested.
According to several sources, including a teammate, Young has been unhappy with his role, specifically his minutes, and if things don’t improve, the Bulls shouldn’t be surprised if Young’s camp asks for a trade now that he’s eligible to be moved after signing a three-year, $41 million deal back on July 6.
But if Young is unhappy, he hasn’t taken his grievances public.
“I’m good with whatever Coach sees fit to do with me,’’ Young told the Sun-Times. “Obviously everybody wants to be on the court more, everybody wants to be on the floor as much as possible. For me, it’s just be productive with the time I am given.’’
Young has watched his minutes go from 30.7 per game last season with the Pacers to 21.6 with the Bulls.
Young also would like to close games, and he feels his experience would benefit the Bulls.
“Of course,’’ Young said when asked about wanting to be on the floor in the final minutes. “I’ve been closing for years. But like I said, if Coach decides to go with a different unit, different guys, then I have to go with that and try and be one of the guys that’s ready to go when my number is called.’’
It might not be a bad number to call.
Last season with the Pacers, Young had the third-best offensive rating in the fourth quarter of games among starters, and he shot 51 percent from the field.
Considering how many late-game leads the Bulls have given away already this season, the 31-year-old has a good point.
However, Young is choosing to control only what he can control.
What that means for him right now is doing all he can to make the Bulls’ second unit a team strength. The victory against the Hawks on Wednesday was a good start.
Because of injuries to Chandler Hutchison and Otto Porter Jr., as well as the poor play of Luke Kornet, the Bulls’ bench underwent a reboot the last few weeks.
Daniel Gafford is playing for Kornet, while No. 7 overall pick Coby White is now playing the lead guard, and Denzel Valentine has been dusted off and turned loose. Boylen has been putting a starter in with the group at times, as well as using Ryan Arcidiacono.
The team’s co-captain has been anchoring it all.
“I think we’re a really cohesive unit that gets the game going and moving,’’ Young said. “We get out there on the defensive end but also on the offensive end we get the ball moving, get it flowing. Everyone’s getting touches. That group is really good because we’re different than the first one. The first one was scoring, and we’re a mixture of different guys that are hard-nosed, going to go out there and play defense.’’
Young finished the game against the Hawks with 15 points and a plus-33. Valentine finished plus-22, while White was plus-20.
“We play the right way,’’ Valentine said. “We’re all selfless in that second group, and we just want to have a good impact on the game. It’s about taking it to that next level. If we’ve got that lead, extending the lead, or if we’re down, getting that lead. Positive impact, whatever we can do.’’