Is Thaddeus Young a Key Philadelphia 76ers Building Block or Just Trade Bait?

Zachary Arthur@Zach_ArthurSLCCorrespondent IIMarch 23, 2013

Both of these players would look good in a Sixers jersey
Both of these players would look good in a Sixers jerseyKevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Thaddeus Young has been one of the only members of the Philadelphia 76ers to have a consistent season, leaving Sixers management and fans to wonder if he's a building block or just trade bait.

Look back at what Philadelphia has done and try and think of a more hardworking and unselfish player. Don't just think about other Sixers players, but look at the entire league.

Good luck coming up with anybody as talented as Young.

His versatility is shown through what he does on both the offensive and defensive ends of the floor.

Offensively, he doesn't need any plays run for him in order to get involved. He does an exceptional job at finding the open space and making himself available. Grabbing 2.4 offensive rebounds per game also demonstrates how active he is on the glass.

Defensively, he's shown a unique ability to change positions and defend power forwards at a high level. His lack of size has allowed him to use his speed and quickness to his advantage. He is simply more athletic than the majority of the people he defends.

From the outside, everything looks great for Thad and the Sixers. He's a good player on a young team that looks to be growing despite their poor season. The problem isn't that Philadelphia liked him.

The problem is that so does the rest of the league.

Is appreciating what he brings to the Sixers organization enough to keep him there, or should they strike while the iron is hot and try and move Young while he's at the top of his game?

Young is a 6' 8", 235-pound small forward that is playing up a position and averaging 15.3 points, 7.6 rebounds and 1.8 steals per game. Those aren't All-Star numbers, but he always plays with consistency and energy. Those are two traits that seem to be pretty unteachable.

He's a fan favorite in the city of Philadelphia.

I've gone on record of stating that my feelings toward Young have changed. I once believed that he wasn't much more than somebody playing out of position that was able to occasionally put up respectable numbers. It takes a lot to change my mind about something, but my current feelings toward Young aren't anywhere close to what they used to be.

My mind was changed because of Sixers fans in the comment section.

I continually read comments about looking more closely, and I had no other choice than to admit when I was wrong.

His offensive production is almost effortless, as he doesn't need to be the primary or secondary option in any set or play that Philly runs. On top of that, nearly every possession ends with Young crashing the offensive glass and battling for a second chance.

There aren't enough words to describe what he's meant to the Sixers this season.

A 26-42 record clearly means that there were countless games where Philadelphia was close to or already out of the game. The amazing part is that you would never know if you were only focused on Young. Taking plays off doesn't seem to be an option, and his play gives the Sixers a sense of pride.

Pride that would be hard to come by without him.

The NBA is a league where the smallest skill separates average players from good players. Almost everybody has the same strengths and weaknesses. These guys are all around the same height and share similar length. There are better shooters than others, but it's only by a very little margin. This leaves the intangibles.

Intangibles such as heart, work ethic and knowledge for the game. Young has shown that he possesses all three of them.

So how does moving him to another team help the Sixers?

This one is actually pretty simple. Thad hasn't played at such a high level before and nobody really knows if he'll be able to keep it up. Young players have a tendency of looking like they have it all figured out only to be in for a rude awakening. Other teams begin game-planning specifically for them, and the player loses whatever edge they seemed to previously possess.

Could that player one day be Thad?

The other advantage to moving Young is with addressing a position of need. Philadelphia seems to have a need at every position except point guard, but trading away the former Georgia Tech product could help to balance out the Sixers' rotation.

Philadelphia has a difficult decision on their hands with this one, but the choice is still pretty obvious.

The Sixers need to use Young as a building block and keep him in Philly.

To put it simply, he is a playmaker without ever needing to touch the ball. That is pretty much the perfect kind of player for this organization. Keeping him allows the team to bring in somebody that is more used to having the ball in his hands. The beautiful part is that there really wouldn't be too much of a conflict.

Young isn't a selfish player now, and he doesn't seem like the kind of guy that will turn into one.

At the end of the day, he's a 24-year-old small forward that does everything asked of him. That kind of youth and work ethic need to be looked at as franchise builders.

Philadelphia needs to see him like that and use him as a building block for their future.