Bulls veteran Thaddeus Young sees a bench that can do special things

Young, who was finally active for the game Tuesday, hopes that when he gets regular playing time with the second unit, the group can turn into a team strength.

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Forward Thaddeus Young thinks the Bulls’ bench can develop into a special unit this season.

Forward Thaddeus Young thinks the Bulls’ bench can develop into a special unit this season.

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Forward Thaddeus Young thinks the Bulls’ bench can develop into a special unit this season.

His actual return might speed the process along.

Young, who was sidelined midway through the preseason with a severe infection in his left leg, felt good enough to be listed as active Tuesday, leaving it up to coach Billy Donovan and team trainers whether he’d play against the Wizards. They decided to give it more time, allowing Young another day of practice Wednesday before the Bulls meet the Wizards again Thursday night.

“Feeling good,” Young said. “There’s no problems, no issues. Been able to get out and play a little basketball, some three-on-three and stuff like that. Haven’t really [done] any five-on-five activity because we haven’t had much time to practice, nor much time to get in the gym for long periods of times with these games kind of jumping over each other.”

It will be interesting to see how Donovan uses Young. Denzel Valentine worked with the second unit in the season opener, but the group was short-handed with Tomas Satoransky and veteran Garrett Temple unavailable. In Game 2, Valentine was out and Donovan settled on a second unit of Otto Porter Jr., Satoransky, Chandler Hutchison, Temple and Lauri Markkanen, whose minutes were staggered so he could play some center with the group.

Donovan doesn’t often talk strategy or show his hand, but when Young is up and running, it would make sense for Hutchison to be the odd man out.

In any case, Young sees the bench becoming a stabilizing force for the starters.

“I think our second unit can be really good, just from the experience standpoint, understanding concepts,” he said. “We have a lot of defensive guys in that second unit, and then we have a really good point guard in Sato, who’s started in this league, so he understands how to actually orchestrate and run offense and get us into position. And then you have a couple glue guys in that second unit that can actually play. But I think the best part about it is we have a unit that can really play some good defense and get the ball back for us, and being able to get out with some really decent three-point shooting.”

Don’t I know you guys?

Donovan is very familiar with some key Wizards players, having coached guard Bradley Beal at Florida and guard Russell Westbrook in Oklahoma City.

“He’s a great guy,” Donovan said of Beal. “Really good team guy. Has a real clear understanding of what goes into winning. And I think he’ll always be a guy who’ll always have a great impact in the locker room.

“As it relates to Russell, I’ve always said this: When you have your best player when you walk in there as a coach, and you’re never worried about whether or not this guy’s going to show up and compete and play, it’s an incredible luxury. Because I think that’s really what his identity has been as a player — he lines up every night and plays and gives everything he has.”

Console connections

Young wasn’t about to apologize for having a pair of PlayStation 5s in his home, despite the new video-game console being one of the hardest ever to track down.

“I’ve got two kids,” Young said, laughing. “If I didn’t buy two, then they would kill each other for the one that we had.

“I had to go and call in some favors to get two of them. It actually worked out pretty well. But, yeah, we definitely need two of everything with our kids.”

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