Thaddeus Young should have another chance to show his value to the depleted Toronto Raptors on Saturday against the visiting Dallas Mavericks.
The Raptors will be facing a Mavericks team motivated to make up for a 125-112 loss to the Boston Celtics in the opener of a three-game road trip on Wednesday despite 42 points from Luka Doncic.
Both teams have lost two straight.
With the Raptors dealing with injuries to players like Pascal Siakam (adductor strain), the 34-year-old Young has gone from providing experience off the bench to putting in significant minutes.
Toronto was down to 10 available players in a 112-98 home loss to the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday, and Young played 28 minutes a starter and delivered 12 points, eight rebounds, five assists and two steals.
In an overtime loss to the host Atlanta Hawks on Nov. 19, he recorded season-best 18 points with nine rebounds, four assists and four steals in 35 minutes.
"He's been good," Raptors coach Nick Nurse said. "I think that (he) just kind of continues to do the same thing, you know, eight or 10, 12 shots a night, shoots a pretty high percentage, gets a solid number of rebounds, is doing a good job leadership-wise, too. He's good in the huddles and he's trying to keep those guys going. Things like that. So he's been a true pro."
Young's first start as a Raptor was Nov. 12 when he registered 15 points and three steals against the host Indiana Pacers.
"This is a very unfortunate time for us," Young said. "The good thing is we can continue to try to get better and get the young guys better and we still can put ourselves in position to win basketball games. It's not the end of the world, like we're still in the early part of the season and we still have a chance to do really well."
Siakam, injured in the loss at Dallas on Nov. 4, is not yet ready to return. Others out on Wednesday were Scottie Barnes (knee), Fred VanVleet (illness), Dalano Banton (ankle), Precious Achiuwa (ankle) and Otto Porter Jr. (dislocated toe).
Based on how well he worked with Doncic on Wednesday, Christian Wood could be making his first start of the season on Saturday.
The two worked together to cut a 17-point deficit to nine with three minutes to play at Boston.
"You look at what they did," Mavericks coach Jason Kidd said. "They have a great connection. They did a good job against one of the best teams in the league. So hopefully we can grow from this and we can have those two out there in Toronto."
One game after playing a season-low 17 minutes in a home loss to the Denver Nuggets, Wood played a season-high 34 against Boston and had 26 points and 12 rebounds.
Kidd has said that he prefers Wood and Tim Hardaway Jr. coming off the bench.
Wood, an offseason acquisition, prefers not to comment on the situation.
"I think I'm going to just keep that personal opinion to myself," Wood said. "But what I can say is I'm enjoying my time here. I love playing for Dallas. These guys, they support me. They pick me up when I have a bad game. So things are going great."
--Field Level Media