The Indiana Pacers have acquired Thaddeus Young from the Brooklyn Nets in exchange for the No. 20 overall pick and a future protected second-round pick ahead of Thursday night's NBA Draft, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical.
In opting for a commodity with a proven record, the surprise swap communicates that the Pacers were decidedly less convinced with any of the frontcourt options expected to be available at No. 20 tonight. By closing the deal on Young's known skill set, possible lingering concerns regarding Thon Maker's shroud of mystery, Brice Johnson's slim frame, Cheick Diallo's raw talent, or Juan Hernangomez's defense (and the list goes on) are permanently put to rest.
With Lavoy Allen as the lone forward under contract with NBA-level experience, Young, a mobile 6-foot-8 veteran, addresses Indiana's most apparent area of need in a way that an untested rookie arguably could not in the immediate.
The lefty power forward appeared in 73 games this season, averaging 15.1 points and 9.0 rebounds on 51 percent shooting. Where Young distinguishes himself most from Allen is with his athleticism as well as his ability to create offense for himself around the rim.
Indiana's garbageman feasts almost exclusively on putbacks and struggles to keep pace with speedier guards, whereas Young can run the floor and is far craftier operating out of the post (50%) as well as converting driving hook shots (63%) and floaters (66.7%).
During Indiana's seven-game first-round series with the Toronto Raptors, the Pacers were outscored by 35.4 points per 100 possessions with Lavoy Allen on the floor compared to when he was on the bench largely because the lumbering power forward struggled to find his shot both from mid-range (33%) and the restricted area (33%) and was simultaneously victimized defensively in pick-and-pop situations due to his lack of foot speed. Unable to contribute on defense or offense, the 27-year-old's season-long positive net rating (6.9) bottomed out during the post-season (-25.4).
With Myles Turner expected to return to the center position and Solomon Hill likely on his way out the door, Young's arrival will facilitate moving Allen back to the bench where he is better suited to be effective.
Of course, with the 28-year-old entering the second season of a four-year, $50 million extension, there is additional pressure on Turner to be ready to anchor Indiana's defense, an area in which he displayed significant growing pains last season beyond blocking shots.
Additionally, neither Allen or Young is going to do much in the way of spacing for the Blue & Gold next season. With Young only knocking down 23 percent of his shots from behind the arc in his ninth season, adding a versatile big man more capable of creating driving lanes for Monta Ellis as well as freshly acquired point guard Jeff Teague with his shooting is something the Pacers need to seriously consider in free agency come July 1.
Young's experience outweighs the uncertainty of the 2016 NBA Draft, whether it warranted potentially supplanting other needs, sacrificing shooting, or banking on Turner's rapid defensive development remains less certain.
After trading away their first-round pick, the Pacers will still have a selection to make tonight at No. 50.