February 22, 2012; Washington, DC, USA; Sacramento Kings guard Marcus Thornton (23) dribbles the ball past Washington Wizards shooting guard Jordan Crawford (15) in the second half at Verizon Center. The Kings won 115-107. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-US PRESSWIRE

Sacramento Kings ’11-12 First Half Report Cards: Marcus Thornton

For Marcus Thornton, the first half of the ’11-12 season wasn’t ideal. Between lingering injuries and difficulties meshing with Tyreke Evans, the afterglow on his freshly signed contract that returned him to Sacramento vanished quickly.

When Thornton was acquired from the New Orleans Hornets last year, he was essentially thrust into the number one role and his stats showed it, putting up gaudy numbers which included 21+ points a game on a eye-popping 45% (considering his shot selection). Add in the near five rebounds per game and the three and a half assists, Thornton was absolute money.

But as was mentioned above, Thornton has dealt with injuries this year – missing seven of the Kings thirty-three first half games, playing a handful of those said games with nagging injuries which clearly resulted in Thornton not being the Thornton we’ve come to know and expect.

One area Thornton has thrived in this year though (and last) is his clutch shooting, knocking down a very impressive 44% of his shots when the clock dips below five minutes and both teams are within five points. For comparison, Tyreke Evans currently sits at 31.8% in that same scenario.

However, unlike DeMarcus Cousins and Tyreke Evans, Thornton hasn’t held his own in the +/- category. Now, I know that particular stat does tend to support the unit on the floor more than the individual play – and Thornton does tend to get matched up with the higher scoring guards – but it is a statistic that I do think holds some importance. For Thornton, it’s not awful – but given his role, you’d hope he’d be sitting with a plus rating instead of a negative 1.7, as he currently does. But, as one of the four Kings who currently own a plus simple rating, Thornton’s first half to the ’11-12 season might not be as bad as the statistics want to make it out to be.

There’s definitely some concern to the lack of meshing through the first 33 games for Thornton, the field goal percentage has been very sub-par and the decision making could be better, but those are things you could say about most of the Kings roster.

I certainly give Thornton credit for playing through injuries as he’s done, but, it’s been a very average first half campaign for the Bayou Bomber – here’s to an improved second half.

’11-12 first half grade: C

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