The Pacers had a great week, reeling off four wins including a pair against quality Eastern Conference foes that now has them sitting in third place, just two games behind Toronto in the top spot. Thaddeus Young played a huge role all week, but really raised his game in the wins over Milwaukee and Philly and the league took notice.
Young was named NBA Eastern Conference Player of the Week and the honor is well deserved. Sure Thad averaged 18.8 points, 9.8 rebounds and 3.8 assists over the four-game stretch. But giving himself up physically to guard Giannis Antetokounmpo and Ben Simmons, and in doing so altering the game with his defense, is why he should be honored.
He was so good in those games, Player of the Month should be in play. Consider Antetokounmpo was never able to get rolling to make easy buckets which kept the Bucks staggering all night. Giannis is averaging over 26 points per game, but scored just 12 points on six shot attempts when Thad was through with him. In his next game against Cleveland with Thad nowhere in sight, Giannis put up 44 points and 14 rebounds.
The best thing is that Thad will be far more focused about playing the Cavs and Raptors over the next two days than he will about winning this award.
This is Young’s second PoW award, first earning it in January 2014 while playing with the Sixers. Victor Oladipo won the award for the week of Nov. 5 earlier this season. In the Western Conference, James Harden won the award this week, as well.
Enjoy some Thad highlights and the links: