At this stage, everyone knows the Bulls 2020-21 season didn’t go as planned. This team fell apart and ended up missing the playoffs. However, there were a few bright spots on the team this year. One of them was a bit surprising in forward Thaddeus Young. This past season Young had the best field goal percentage and assists per game in his career. Not only did he improve his stats in his second season with the Bulls but he was hustling. If a hustle play was being made it almost always seemed to be by Young. It was fitting to hear that Young was named the 2020-21 NBA Hustle Award recipient.
Bulls forward Thaddeus Young has won the 2020-21 NBA Hustle Award, which honors player that makes the energy and effort plays to help his team win throughout the season.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) June 23, 2021
When everything was said and done Young averaged 12.1 PPG, 55.9%FG, 6.2 RPG, & 4.3 APG. He was active all season within the team’s offense and held his own defensively. He had a season filled with a lot of ups. As a 33-year-old this was surprising to see. Many didn’t think he would be a big part of this team after coming off a lackluster season with the Bulls the year before. But Young must have taken that as fuel and ran with it.
Countless hustle plays made
This season just seemed different for Young. He seemed to be out to prove that he still has a lot left in the tank and can be a key contributor to the Bulls. Thankfully for all of us, the Bulls threw together a quick snapshot of some of those hustle plays this season.
— Chicago Bulls (@chicagobulls) June 23, 2021
Thaddeus Young just outworked his competition and made sure he was making an impact when on the court.
— NBA (@NBA) June 23, 2021
Performing the way he did was quite important for the trajectory of his career. Young signed a three-year contract with the Bulls in 2019 and still has one year left on his deal. Without performing as well as he did the Bulls likely would have tried to move him and shed his $14 million next season. With his performance, it has now done one of two things for him. It either showed the Bulls he is an important piece that can’t be moved or it drove his value up to where the Bulls can’t say no to moving him.
Decisions to be made
The Bulls front office has some tough decisions ahead. We won’t get into all of them right now but we will get into Young’s situation. Like I’ve already said the man played great last year. It was almost like a rebirth year for him. While that’s great for the Bulls that also could mean he will be headed out the door. Right now Young’s trade value is pretty high. Coming off a great season and getting the NBA Hustle award has certainly raised his value from a year ago. So contending teams that may be looking for a hardworking veteran to come off the bench and compete might start reaching out. This could put the Bulls in a tough spot as they think long-term. Thaddeus Young isn’t young anymore so if the Bulls are offered some younger skilled players it may be too good to pass up. After last season Bulls fans didn’t seem to want to move Young. After this award announcement, the sentiment is still the same.
Do not trade this man. https://t.co/jGkudBuRZc
— Artūras Karnišovas Fan Club (@arturasfanclub) June 23, 2021
What the Bulls will do with Young is ultimately up to them. Beyond just the fan’s perspective it’s clear that Young is very much respected in the locker room. If the Bulls move him there could be some members of the team upset about the decision.
Well deserved award
Once the announcement came out Young was quick to go to Twitter and post his excitement about the award. Well, his teammate and Bulls All-Star Zach LaVine also noticed his tweet and sent him a reply. LaVine clearly has nothing but respect for Thaddeus.
Best teammate you could ask for too!! Congrats bro👊🏽🙏🏽
— Zach LaVine (@ZachLaVine) June 23, 2021
He added that on top of Young being the Hustle Award winner that he’s the best teammate you could ask for. After seeing that you might think that trading Young could ruffle some feathers with the players and the front office. Either way, his teammates have his back. It’s easy to have a teammates back when they are making the hustle plays to keep the team in games. Young touched on the award and what it says about his game.
It’s just a matter of me going out there and getting the job done, and whatever comes with it comes with it.
Let’s hope Young and many other players on the team carry that mindset into next season. Regardless of what the front office decides to do this offseason you can’t take away the fact that Young had a great season. The man absolutely deserves this award given to him and we hope to see him get it again next season.