New Timberwolves forward Thaddeus Young is a seven-year NBA veteran with a wife and two kids. But he also just turned 26 and, despite a strong level of maturity, would still be considered a relative youngster in the league if not for all his even fresher-faced new teammates. The Star Tribune’s Michael Rand caught up with Young on a variety of subjects:
Q How long did it take you to get to this point in your career where everybody considers you a veteran leader?
A Probably a couple years back. I was always a player who didn’t say a whole lot, but I had to start shape-shifting into the role of going out and leading the team. They named four captains [on the 2011-12 76ers]. It was Andre Iguodala, Elton Brand, me and Louis Williams. We understood the game, and [coach Doug Collins] understood us.
Q You were part of a pretty extensive rebuilding project in Philadelphia. They’re rebuilding in Minnesota, too, but does it feel different from what you were coming from?
A It does. I think the situation in Philly is much different. It’s the same process, but this team is much more competitive and it’s a better roster. Philly, they were getting rid of everybody and getting worse. But I think [Philadelphia GM Sam Hinkie] is doing a great job and has made some big moves.
Q Getting traded was kind of a long time coming for you because rumors have been out there for more than a year. But when you finally get the call that it’s going down, what is that like?
A It was one of those things that was bittersweet. It was a sad moment but a happy moment. I have a chance to come to a fairly good team. We lost Kevin Love, but we added four guys — Zach [LaVine], Andrew Wiggins, Anthony Bennett and me. This is a great chance for us to make some noise. We’re young and athletic. We also have Ricky Rubio, Corey Brewer, Kevin Martin and Pek [Nikola Pekovic]. A lot of good guys on the team.
Q But you also have to move your family. How hard is that?
A Yeah, I have two boys, ages 1 and 4. My wife made it to town [Wednesday] with the kids. We’re going to go look for a place. We’re trying to move things along rather quickly. It’s a situation where you have to go with the flow.
Q Did you have someone, when you were 19, who took you under his wing when you were a rookie?
A Yeah, he actually works here now — Calvin Booth. Also Donyell Marshall, Theo Ratliff, Reggie Evans. I think Reggie was one of the biggest people who has helped me in my career.
Q Knowing you went through that, what kinds of things will you try to impart on Wiggins, who seems like he has some maturity already?