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Thaddeus Young’s off-ball defense against the Pistons was weird

The lefty power forward rarely doesn’t show effort on defense, but isn’t always sound in so doing.

Indana Pacers v Detroit Pistons Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Whether anticipating passing lanes or redirecting the flight of the ball, Thaddeus Young’s activity level on the defensive end shouldn’t be questioned. Averaging 1.6 steals per game while only being out hustled for deflections by Paul George, the lefty power forward’s quick hands can at times be credited not only for cutting an opponent’s possession short of a shot attempt but also creating an easy transition opportunity for his teammates.

Even so, the Pacers rank 24th defensively (at 107.1 points per 100 possessions), and they allow nearly the same amount of points with Young on the floor (107.1) as they do when he’s on the bench (107.2).

Taking a closer look at the frequency by which the 29-year-old veteran got caught in no man’s land sending unnecessary help against the Detroit Pistons should explain, in part, why his energy and effort isn’t measurably elevating his team’s defense, as of yet.

Here, for instance, there is just a simple miscommunication defending the 1-4 pick-and-roll where Thad is expecting to switch and Cory Joseph can’t recover to Anthony Tolliver before the spread four (fortunately) misses the shot.

That’s at least explainable, even if it also should’ve been avoidable.

Otherwise, things were mostly weird.

As in, why is Young so preoccupied with bumping Andre Drummond from his spot with three of his teammates also stationed in the paint that he leaves his man, Tobias Harris, wide open behind the arc?

Again, his attention is so intently focused on the strong side pick-and-roll action that he surrenders yet another three.

And another (though, Tolliver misfires).

Admittedly, it’s possible that some of these strange miscues might have been born out of an abundance of caution due to Myles Turner’s foul trouble, but Young also managed to get himself sucked into the invisible vortex in the paint against the Pelicans, too.

Other than failure to communicate, there’s just no reason for the mobile forward to follow Jrue Holiday down the rabbit hole with Turner’s rim protection already lying in wait.

On the season, Indiana is allowing teams to shoot more three point attempts per 100 possessions with Young on the floor (27.6) than off (24.7).

Granted, the Pacers have surrendered 50-plus points in the paint to nine of their first twelve opponents, but congregating there isn’t the answer.