The Chicago Bulls got some good news on Tuesday morning.
According to NBC Sports Chicago’s K.C. Johnson, Thaddeus Young will be active for tonight’s first matchup against the Washington Wizards. Whether or not Young sees action is only a decision head coach Billy Donovan can make. However, Young does seem like an obvious and key member of the Bulls second unit, so the expectation should be that we see him worked into the rotation sooner than later.
Thad Young said he’s available vs. Wizards. Season debut if Billy Donovan chooses to play the veteran, who has battled left leg infection.
— K.C. Johnson (@KCJHoop) December 29, 2020
Thad Young says he's "feeling really good" and "ready to go" to play tonight vs. Washington.
Adds it will be Coach's decision on if he'll play. pic.twitter.com/4IMWMs7oJT
— Chicago Bulls (@chicagobulls) December 29, 2020
If Young does take the court tonight, it will be his first game action since the 2019-20 season. The big man missed the entirety of the preseason and the Bulls first three regular-season games with a left leg infection. The injury certainly raised some concern when we learned that Young felt numbness in his leg before the Bulls season-opener against the Atlanta Hawks. However, it appears the Bulls medical staff were able to catch his infection early and get the big man back on the court even sooner than expected (initially given no timetable for return).
In a vacuum, Young isn’t going to be the sole reason that this team flips a switch any time soon. But Young can be a pretty helpful piece in that process. He not only adds valuable experience to a game heavily run by a young roster, but he also gives the team a needed boost on both ends of the floor. Young gives this team another much-needed aggressive presence around the rim.
While always a bit undersized, he is a versatile forward who can play far bigger than he looks. And it also doesn’t hurt that his 3-point shot has been steady in recent years. Defensively, though, is where Young should make the biggest impact. He gives the Bulls another tough body with a high defensive IQ to throw at opposing bigs. Donovan has talked about his team’s need to improve their help defense, and Young should be able to be of assistance in that category. Not to mention, the big man has somehow created quite the reputation for himself when it comes to stealing the basketball.
After the sloppiness we’ve seen over the first three games, I’ll gladly take Young’s experienced presence back in the mix (especially if Lauri Markkanen isn’t ready to go for tonight’s game).