The 76ers are 6-2 and have gotten there in impressive fashion. They are averaging 100.3 points per game, fifth-best in the league. They are giving up 85.6 points per game, tops in the NBA. The 14.7 point differential is easily the best of any team, Miami Heat (11.7) included.
After Monday night's 10-point win over the Pacers, coach Doug Collins added an extra layer to his high praise of Thad Young, stating that Young's ability to disrupt the pick-and-roll at the defensive end has been so effective that he should get All-Defensive team consideration if he keeps it up.
Young enters tonight's game against the Sacramento Kings with the best
plus-minus rating on the team at +111, even though he is four on the team in minutes.
If you do the math and figure out the 48-minute average with Young on the floor, the Sixers average a whopping 111.1 points per game and allow 88.4 points per game.
You might notice that the points allowed total is 2.8 points more than the Sixers are allowing as a whole. But Young is a high-energy player, and the tempo of the game definitely picks up when he is out there. Besides, 88.4 ppg remains a very impressive defensive point total.
But look at the differential: for every 48 minutes Young has been on the court this season, the Sixers are 22.7 points better than the opposition.
Young is second in the NBA in plus-minus behind Miami's Mario Chalmers (+124), and three of the top six plus-minus performers play for the Sixers or Heat.
When you look at the classic statistics, Young is the same player he was last season – he's averaging 12.6 points and 5.4 rebounds and shooting 55.6 percent from the floor, all numbers pretty much in line with his 2010-11 performance.
It can be tricky to quantify defensive value. Collins likes to track passes deflected to give a numerical value to it (Young had five against the Pacers). He also took four charges, which when added to his two steals, it means Young was personally responsible for creating six of Indiana's 16 turnovers.
One thing is certain: Thad has found religion at the defensive end. He was much better defensively last season, but nothing like this. And the Sixers can be thankful this blossoming is taking place after he signed a long-term deal with them. Because this Thad Young is going to be a bargain at $9 million per year.