Bulls

Thad Young is adjusting to new role, new style of play with Bulls

thad.jpg
USA Today

Thad Young is adjusting to new role, new style of play with Bulls

BOSTON --- Thad Young is averaging 3.3 3-point attempts per game, the second-highest total of his career.

This is less a reflection of Young wanting to become the next Steph Curry and more a reflection of him doing what his coach has asked.

“Those are the things our staff encourages. They encourage us to take threes and layups, I think that’s the type of league that we’re in now, a 3 and layup-type game. No long twos and less on the post-ups and stuff like that because it slows down the game or it stagnates the offense,” Young said following shootaround. “Just trying to be able to evolve. If I’m open, I’ll shoot it. If I’m not, I'll drive it or move it so just being able to do a lot of different things and not staying on the wing, I think that’s one of the biggest things that I have to continue to get better at. And also with my teammates, just feeding and trying to figure out them a little bit better than I have in the past games that we’ve played so far.”

Young is shooting 32.3 percent from 3-point range, which is basically right at his career average of 32.8 percent. He has averaged 1.5 3-point attempts in his 13-year NBA career and his highest season average from his three with the Pacers is 2.2 per game.

“Yeah, I mean that’s not how I played pretty much my whole career. But like I said, its what’s being asked of me. I’m the type of guy my coach asks me to do something, if he asks me to run through a brick wall, I know it’s going to hurt but I’m going to try and run through that brick wall,” Young said. “So it is what it is. I’ve always been a team-first guy. I’ve always been a guy who listens to the coaching staff and what they’re trying to instill in us and what they’re trying to do and then try to go out there and accomplish the mission.”

Boylen appreciates this mentality.

“He’s just tough. He does everything we ask him to do. He has played different for us than he did in Indiana. You have to give him credit for that. He’s spacing it. He has shot it well. Our system is different than them. He has made the adjustment,” Boylen said. “Defensively, he knocks balls loose. He competes. He’s a great voice in the locker room. He’s a great voice on the floor. He believes in the work it takes to build a team. He loves to practice. Those things are all really valuable for us. I can have a conversation with him and we can talk about things. I think that’s important.”

Asked if playing this style was conveyed to him when he signed with the Bulls during the free-agency process, Young said no.

“But at the end of the day, everybody here signed up for a certain thing and they all signed up believing in what we’re trying to build,” Young said. “So, just go out there and do what we’re supposed to do as far as our job and make sure that we’ll continue to build and we’ll continue to grow as a team.”

Boylen admitted it was “a hard ask” but an “easy sell” for Young to play a different style than he has the majority of his career. He reiterated this is borne out of wanting to establish a style of play at both ends with both the starting and reserve units playing similarly.

“He’s very willing to help, please. He’s a pro, man,” Boylen said. “I’ve mentioned, though, that I don’t want to have a system where injury makes us play differently from night to night. Illness, sickness, guy has the flu, now we have to play a whole different way? We don’t want to do that. With that comes some growing pains.

“I think it’s fair to say Wendell Carter is better in our pick-and-roll defense than Daniel (Gafford) and Luke (Kornet). It’s not a cut to them. It’s the reality of he’s an elite dude at it. So they have to grow with that because I don’t want to have change everything we do on a game-to-game basis. That’s not how you build something. And Thad has bought into that.

“I want my 4 to play the same way in the first group as the second. We tweak it a little for him. We run a couple things for him. But in general, we play the same way with the second group. And he has bought into that. And it wasn’t a hard sell to him. But it was an adjustment to him. Not being a hard sell is a credit to him. Good dude.

“We established it in September and October. We all understood it was a different style for him, a different way to play. I thought with his skill set and his intelligence that he could do it. And he has done it.”

Young is averaging 8.7 points, the second-lowest scoring average of his career behind his rookie season. His 22.2 minutes per game also are the lowest since his rookie season.

“Biggest adjustment is not starting and playing less minutes,” Young said. “Obviously when you get up in age or you come to a certain situation where you’re focused on development of certain guys and you’re focused on different things, you as a veteran, you take those hits.

“You just got to go out there and play every time you get and just be productive. Make sure you’re doing the right things to help the team win and then also just helping guys grow, younger guys. It’s a situation where we’re grooming a lot of guys at one time. You have Lauri (Markkanen), you have Daniel, you have Coby (White), you have a lot of young guys on the team, Chandler Hutchison. So just helping those guys get better each and every day and just making sure that when I’m going out there I’m impacting the game in certain ways in the time that I do get.” 

Attention Dish and Sling customers! You have lost your Bulls games on NBC Sports Chicago. To switch providers, visit mysportschicago.com.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Bulls easily on your device.

Posterized presents 'Chicagoland's All-Time Starting Five' plus Q&A with Jason Goff

tim_hardaway_and_antoine_walker.jpg
ShotByBOC

Posterized presents 'Chicagoland's All-Time Starting Five' plus Q&A with Jason Goff

Over the 2020 NBA All-Star Weekend in Chicago, the "Posterized: The Chicago Experience by Jim Beam" event celebrated the rich history of Chicagoland high school hoops by honoring an "all-time starting five," featuring five Chicagoland preps legends, voted on by Chicago sports fans. Fans had from February 6 to February 10 at 9 pm to vote for their top five from a list of names that included Candace Parker, Derrick Rose, and the late Benji Wilson. The final results were revealed on February 14th, at the Chicago Sports Museum & Harry Caray's 7th inning stretch restaurant.

At Posterized the event the Chicagoland all-time starting five was revealed: Derrick Rose (Simeon), Isiah Thomas (St. Joseph), Dwyane Wade (Richards High School), Anthony Davis (Perspectives Charter), and Antoine Walker (Mount Carmel). I was able to speak with the host of the event about the experience and the final list, NBC Sports Chicago's Jason Goff. Below is the Q+A with Goff on the event: 

 

Q: How was your experience at 'Posterized: The Chicago Experience' and what ultimately led to your interest in hosting the event? 

It was a terrific experience. Joy Glover and her team put together a really cool experience for locals and people who aren't from Chicago. All things party, Chicago basketball appreciation; and All-Star weekend rolled into one event. When Joy reached out through a mutual friend, I didn't hesitate. The idea was cool and the execution during the busiest time I've seen in quite a while was excellent. 

Q: The All-Time starting 5 selected by the fans was: Isiah Thomas, Derrick Rose, Dwyane Wade, Anthony Davis, and Antione Walker. Ultimately, do you think the fans got it right? Was there anyone you were shocked didn't make the final cut? 

There are so many names that were on the list that deserve recognition. We're all prisoners of whatever generation of basketball we grew up in. Quinn Buckner, Mark Aguirre, George Mikan, etc. Just to name a few. Also, the women's game could've received a little more gratitude by our voters as well. Candace Parker, Cappie Pondexter; and many others have had just as much success inside and outside of this city as anyone. 

Q: Who in your opinion had the best high school career out of the Chicagoland all-time starting five? (Isiah Thomas, Derrick Rose, Dwyane Wade, Anthony Davis, and Antione Walker)

Of the ones named? Probably Derrick Rose [at Simeon]. But nobody has done more winning than Quinn Buckner (a member of undefeated Thornridge High School team in 1972, one of the best HS teams ever.)

Q: When it's all said and done, who do you think will have the best NBA career of the Chicagoland all-time starting five? (Isiah Thomas, Derrick Rose, Dwyane Wade, Anthony Davis, and Antione Walker)

Unless Anthony Davis wins a few titles, it'd have to be Dwyane Wade with Isiah Thomas as a close second.

Between the five players that make up Posterized's all-time starting five, there are six NBA Championships, an NBA MVP, and 17 All-NBA appearances. Below are some of the accomplishments of this illustrious group:

Isiah Thomas:

High school (St. Joseph-Westchester): State finalist (1979), McDonald's All-American (1979),  first-team Parade All-American, USA Basketball Male Athlete of the Year (1980)

Indiana (NCAA): NCAA Champion (1981), NCAA Tourney MVP (1981), 2-time All-Big Ten, Consensus 1st team All-American (1981)

NBA (Detroit Pistons): Five-time All-NBA, Two-time NBA Champion (1988-89, 1989-90), 1989-90 Finals MVP, Hall of Famer

Derrick Rose:

Simeon (High school): State finalist (1979), McDonald's All-American (1979),  first-team Parade All-American, USA Basketball Male Athlete of the Year (1980)

Memphis (NCAA): NCAA Champion (1981), NCAA Tourney MVP (1981), 2-time All-Big Ten, Consensus 1st team All-American (1981)

NBA (Chicago Bulls, New York Knicks, Cleveland Cavaliers, Detroit Pistons): 2008-09 Rookie of the Year, one-time All-NBA, 2010-11 MVP

Dwyane Wade:

Richards (High school): Led Ricards to the Class AA sectional finals in his senior year

Marquette (NCAA): First-team All-American (2003), Conference USA Player of the Year (2003), No. 3 jersey retired by Marquette

NBA (Miami Heat, Chicago Bulls, Cleveland Cavaliers): Eight-time All-NBA, Three-time NBA Champion (2005-06, 2011-12, 2012-13), Finals MVP (2005-06)

Antoine Walker:

Mount Carmel (High school): Chicago Tribune 1994 Boys All-State Basketball Team, First-team Parade All-American (1994)

Kentucky (NCAA):  SEC Tournament MVP (1995), First-team All-SEC (1996), NCAA Champion (1996)

NBA (Boston Celtics, Dallas Mavericks, Miami Heat, Atlanta Hawks, Minnesota Timberwolves): 15,647 career points, 1996-97 All-Rookie, three-time All-Star, 2005-06 NBA Champion

Anthony Davis:

Perspectives (High school): First-team Parade All-American (2011), Jordan Brand Classic co-MVP (2011)

Kentucky (NCAA): 2011-12 SEC Defensive Player of the Year, 2012 SEC Player of the Year, Naismith Award, Wooden Award, NCAA Champion (2011-12)

NBA (New Orleans Pelicans, Los Angeles Lakers):  2012-13 All-Rookie, three-time blocks leader, three-time All-Defensive team, three-time All-NBA

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Bulls easily on your device.

Roommates, brothers, opponents: Coby White, Cam Johnson reunite and show out

Roommates, brothers, opponents: Coby White, Cam Johnson reunite and show out

Cameron Johnson had just been selected by the Phoenix Suns with the No. 11 overall pick in the 2019 NBA draft. At the time, the move was a surprise — Johnson was projected to fall into the middle to late first round, despite averaging 16.9 points and shooting 45.7% from 3 in his last year at North Carolina.

So, elation was a natural response for all close to Johnson. And nobody displayed that elation more authentically — nor more publicly — than Johnson’s teammate, roommate and ‘little brother’ Coby White (who had been picked by the Bulls just four slots earlier). You remember the clip:

That familial bond was grown over many nights bunking together on the road during White’s one and only year at UNC. It all began on a week-long trip to the Bahamas in advance of last season.

“Coming in, I'm the type of dude where if I don't really know you, then I don't talk a lot,” White said. “And then Cam was like ‘Why you so anti(-social)?’ and then it kinda started from there. He became a guy I could always go to if I ever needed something, on or off the court.”

“You know, seniors pair with freshmen, make sure they're everybody they need to be on time,” Johnson, a fifth-year in 2018-19, said. “But he was, like, a mature, easy, no-drama freshman. His composure was at a very high level, his maturity was at a very high level.”

White scoffed at that, saying he got a similar rep (of being ‘mature’) in his first weeks with the Bulls. “I was like nah just trust me,” he said. “And now I'm like that little brother that's annoying them.”

Still, Johnson and White became fast friends over their overlapping year in Chapel Hill. Though it’s been tough to keep in touch amid the rigors of their first NBA seasons, they each agreed competing against each other was a fun change of pace.

“It was great seeing him, I hadn't seen him in a long time, so it was great seeing him,” White said. “We talk here and there, but because we're so busy — it's one of those things, like, you know no matter what we're gonna have each other's backs, we always gonna be there for each other when we need each other.”

“I love that kid, man. I tell you, most of the time when we talk it’s just saying what’s up and just reminding each other that we love each other,” Johnson said. “That’s my guy and I went over and gave him a big hug before I went on the court today.”

 

What ensued come gametime was special for all. In the contest — a 112-104 Suns victory — White poured in a career-high 33 points and canned seven 3-pointers, shooting 11-for-22 from the field. Johnson notched 11 points and three 3-pointers, and made all of them count.

“It was fun, but I hate him so much,” White said of Johnson, who hit two of his three 3-pointers in the game’s fourth quarter. “I just know whenever he shoots if he gets any type of open look it's going in. So every time he shot it in my head, I'm like mad cause I'm like, he's the one you just can't leave him open. The ball just kept finding him in open space.”

But then, with a smile: “But obviously it's all love. After the game, I talked to him, he told me he was proud of me and whatnot. He's like a big brother to me, so it means a lot.”

There’s just something about these Tar Heels. With Roy Williams at the United Center on Nov. 12, White set a Bulls record for 3-pointers in a quarter with seven in the fourth against the Knicks. Tonight, lined up across from Johnson, he scored the second-most points in Bulls franchise history by a rookie off the bench.

He, Johnson and Bulls fans everywhere, will be counting down the days until the team visits Phoenix on April 5.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Bulls easily on your device.