SG – 6’4, 205lbs – Born 5th June 1987
There are three Marcus Thorntons in high level professional basketball today. There is the one out of LSU who played many years in the NBA. There is the one drafted by the Celtics in the second-round out of William and Mary who has a lot of hair and scores a lot of points. And then there is the power forward from Georgia. This is the first one, the man who formerly was the future of the New Orleans Pelicans backcourt with Darren Collison, seeking to be the next veteran to make his way back into the NBA via the minor league route.
Thornton last played in the NBA in February 2017, when he was traded by the Washington Wizards to the Brooklyn Nets as an ancillary part of the trade that swapped the pick that became Jarrett Allen for Bojan Bogdanovic. Immediately waived by Brooklyn, Thornton has been with the Drive since December of that year, save for a brief stint in China down the stretch of last season. 21.5 points per game in 29.0 minutes per game is a colossal return, even if Thornton takes a very large share of the shots to do it.
A scorer through and through, Thornton can make pretty much any kind of shot. He is an excellent catch-and-shoot player when open, yet he also can hit them when contested. He works off the ball to get open, runs the court at every opportunity even now into his 30s, cuts on the baseline, and is an excellent player to have off the ball on the offensive end. Less successful with the ball in his hands due to an inability to create space with the dribble alone, Thornton nevertheless will always be around the action ready to be the pressure release valve.
What did for him at the NBA level was a lack of consistency, a lack of defence, and a lack of consistent defence. Speedsters can exploit him on the drive, and Thornton has been prone to ball watching off the ball, never impressing with his commitment or defensive IQ. I cannot really tell you that this got significantly better this season. But he sure is an NBA scorer still.
– 20th June, 2019
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