Tonight Will be Thaddeus Young's 1000th Game ... So Give the Man a Round of Applause

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Tonight Will be Thaddeus Young’s 1000th Game … So Give the Man a Round of Applause

Chicago Bulls

If there was a time to finally get Thaddeus Young his first-career triple-double – a feat he just barely missed multiple times this season already – it would be tonight.

When the Chicago Bulls take the court for their matchup against the San Antonio Spurs at 7:00 p.m. CT, it will be Young’s 1,000th career game. Let me type that again: YOUNG IS ABOUT TO PLAY HIS 1000TH CAREER GAME. I mean, holy freakin’ crap.

As Jeff Mangurten notes, Young will be only the 137th player ever to achieve this accomplishment. He will also be only the 9th active player to have appeared in 1000 or more game, joining LeBron James (1304), Carmelo Anthony (1160), Dwight Howard (1153), Trevor Ariza (1064), Chris Paul (1057), Lou Williams (1039), Paul Millsap (1025), and LaMarcus Aldridge (1024).

Young’s availability and longevity – currently in his 14th season – has been one of his greatest attributes. In no way is it easy for a professional athlete to stay as healthy and productive as he has throughout his career, and it made him that much more of a valuable grab when the Bulls signed him one season ago.

To really understand how dependable Young has been, let’s look at his games played each season:

*Remember: There were 82 games every season except for 66 in 2011-12 due to the lockout and 64 in 2019-20 due to the pandemic.

2007-08: 74 appearances/started 22 + 6/6 in playoffs
2008-09: 75/72 + 6/6 in playoffs
2009-10: 67/45
2010-11: 82/1
2011-12: 63/1
2012-13: 76/76
2013-14: 79/78
2014-15: 76/68
2015-16: 73/73
2016-17: 74/74 + 4/4 in playoffs
2017-18: 81/81 + 7/7 in playoffs
2018-19: 81/81 + 4/4 in playoffs
2019-20: 64/16
2020-21: 34/2

What’s crazy about Young is that he has only gotten more reliable with age. Before missing his first four games of this season due to a leg infection (he has played all 34 since), Young had missed only a combined three games over the previous three seasons. And before taking his bench role under the head coach that shall not be named, he had started every game he appeared in for four-straight seasons. The main reason was his consistent on-court production, as he averaged an almost identical stat line in each of his final three seasons with Indiana – roughly 11.0 points, 6.0 rebounds, and 2.0 assists per game.

While his role has switched quite a bit in his time with Chicago, he has continued to provide that steady hand on a nightly basis. In fact, if anything, he has only improved his reliability by more than doubling his career average in assists per game.

I know this achievement may not be the flashiest, but when we consider how few players have demonstrated this kind of long-lasting impact in the league, it’s truly special. Now, I just hope the Bulls can celebrate him properly with a win tonight.

For more, read NBC Sports Chicago’s great story on Young’s contributions over the years.

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Author: Elias Schuster

Elias Schuster is the Lead Bulls Writer at Bleacher Nation. You can follow him on Twitter @Schuster_Elias.