THE FLATS – Thaddeus Young continues to prove valuable to the Bulls, but trade rumors persist … Derrick Favors trade to New Orleans and subsequent return to Jazz a testament to mutual respect … Josh Okogie re-discovering his game with the Timberwolves … more in this week’s #ProJackets Report.
YOUNG CONTINUES TO PROVE VALUABLE TO THE BULLS
Thaddeus Young registered 14 points (7-14 FG), nine rebounds, two assists and one steal in 25 minutes during Monday’s blowout 120-95 loss to the Jazz.
The 32-year-old continues to contribute efficient numbers across the board, and he has scored double-digit points in 14 of his last 15 games. Since taking over for Wendell Carter in the starting lineup six games ago, Young is averaging 12.7 points, 8.7 rebounds, 5.2 assists and 1.5 steals and posted a double-double (11 points, 10 rebounds with six assists) in a loss at Denver. He’s been playing well all season and should continue starting for a Bulls team that is looking for its first playoff berth since 2017.
TRADE RUMORS PERSIST FOR YOUNG AS DEADLINE NEARS
Previous reports have suggested that the Chicago Bulls will not trade veteran leader Thaddeus Young at the trade deadline, but that has not stopped teams from trying. Really hard.
According to ESPN’s Zach Lowe, while the Bulls are still signaling that Young is off the table, sources have indicated to him that the Bulls would likely receive a first-round pick in return.
“Young is almost 33, with a partially guaranteed deal next season. The Bulls could get a lot for him now; a first-round pick seems likely, sources said. But Chicago is signaling Young is not available right now, league sources said — that he is too valuable to both their on-court play and their locker room.”
Zach LaVine on his wishes for Thad Young: “Obviously, I want him here. He helps me and the team.” Added if something happens, he hopes it’s good situation for Young. LaVine understands biz side of basketball.
— K.C. Johnson (@KCJHoop) March 24, 2021
HOW FAVORS’ SEASON IN NEW ORLEANS PAVED WAY FOR RETURN TO JAZZ
Not many NBA players get a second chance to play in a place that “feels like home” while still in their relative prime.
Though Favors didn’t start out as a Jazzman (he was acquired on Feb. 23, 2011, as part of the Deron Williams trade after just 56 games with the then-New Jersey Nets), he subsequently spent 8.5 seasons in Utah, becoming as equally beloved in the community as he was in the locker room.
But in May 2019, after the Jazz’s first-round playoff elimination at the hands of the Rockets, the future of the team was very much uncertain. It had become apparent they lacked sufficient offensive firepower to keep up with the elite teams, and that significant change was coming.
“I saw the way the NBA was trending. I knew the Jazz wanted to go that way, too,” Favors told The Salt Lake Tribune recently in an exclusive interview. “I wanted to be here. I wanted to stay. I thought I was going to stay. But it was because of the money, the business side.”
Favors averaged 4.7 points in 14.3 minutes last week as the Jazz won all three games and have a three-game lead over the rest of the Western Conference.
OKOGIE FINDING HIS GAME AGAIN FOR WOLVES
After Devin Booker got off to a strong start Thursday night in Phoenix, Timberwolves coach Chris Finch made a point to have Josh Okogie, the team’s perimeter defensive specialist, shadow Booker at all times.
Okogie slowed Booker down in the second half — a major reason Minnesota posted a 123-119 upset win — and held Booker to just one point on 0-for-9 shooting in the second half of Phoenix’s win Friday.
“Josh is a lockdown defender,” teammate Anthony Edwards said. “Y’all got me sayin’ Josh. ‘JO’ is a lockdown defender at all times on all levels, all parts of the game.”
#ProJackets on Social Media
🔉🔉ASPIRING NBA PLAYERS🔊🔊
— HonestGame (@HonestGameCARES) March 24, 2021
Thad Young will be the 137th player in NBA history to reach this milestone tonight 👏 pic.twitter.com/oSfpStqvoH
— Chicago Bulls (@chicagobulls) March 17, 2021
LETS GOOO @GTMBB
— Josh Okogie (@CallMe_NonStop) March 19, 2021
JO x JV pic.twitter.com/Z5f2xJILLs
— Minnesota Timberwolves (@Timberwolves) March 24, 2021
C L A M P
G A W D pic.twitter.com/9fG6xfIgdT
— Minnesota Timberwolves (@Timberwolves) March 20, 2021
#ProJackets in the NBA/G League 2020-21
Team: Utah Jazz
NBA Experience: 10 seasons
Years at Georgia Tech: 2009-10
Hometown: Atlanta, Ga.
|6-9, 265 lbs|
Standing: 1st / +2.5 GB
Last 10: 9-1
Team: G League Ignite
NBA Experience: 15 seasons
Years at Georgia Tech: 2002-05
Hometown: Fort Washington, Md.
Status: Active/G League
|6-3, 197 lbs|
Standing: 8th / 4.0 GB
Last 10: 4-6
Team: Minnesota Timberwolves
NBA Experience: 2 seasons
Years at Georgia Tech: 2016-18
Hometown: Snellville, Ga.
|6-4, 213 lbs|
Standing: 15th / 25.5 GB
Last 10: 3-7
Team: Brooklyn Nets
NBA Experience: 9 seasons
Years at Georgia Tech: 2008-11
Hometown: Oak Park, Ill.
|6-5, 212 lbs|
Standing: T1st / +2.5 GB
Last 10: 7-3
Team: Chicago Bulls
NBA Experience: 13 seasons
Years at Georgia Tech: 2006-07
Hometown: Memphis, Tenn.
|6-8, 235 lbs|
Standing: 10th / 13 GB
Last 10: 3-7