In the NBA, when one player emerges, many times it results in another’s decline and for the Sacramento Kings – that’s exactly what we’ve seen.
When the Sacramento Kings acquired Marcus Thornton from the New Orleneas Hornets in 2010, there wasn’t a lot of competition for the gunner and that’s just the way Buckets liked it. Void of much guard depth (seriously, Jermaine Taylor was playing nearly 20 minutes a game) and Tyreke Evans out injured, Thornton blew up, averaging almost 40 minutes a game – putting up over 21 points on 45% shooting. Things fell off a bit for Thornton though the following season as Evans returned (at times), DeMarcus Cousins became more involved and Isaiah Thomas emerged as much more than just another late second round draft pick.
The often overlooked guard out of Washington played his way into the starting lineup which forced the Kings to move Tyreke Evans to small forward, an experiment that eventually fizzled out. The end result was Thornton becoming the odd man out and the first guard off of the bench. Now, just over a season after averaging those nearly 40 minutes a game, the former LSU Tiger is just cracking the 20 minute barrier and according to NOLA.com, it’s not an easy transition:
“I’m still trying to get adjusted to it,’’ Thornton said. “Whatever helps the team at this present time, I’m with it. I want to be aggressive with that second unit and get stops.’’
As politically correct as his response is, anybody who follows Thornton on Twitter is probably aware of his distaste for his current role – citing that he’s just “waiting for Smart to unleash me” (among other complaints), but given his struggles – that’s hard to imagine happening anytime soon.
Your prototypical microwave type talent, Thornton – at least on the surface – does appear to be a good candidate for your lead scoring role off the bench, but the Bayou Bomber just can’t put it together and it’s shown both in his results and the Kings’ bench as well.
With an ownership change on the horizon and the inevitable coaching overhaul, hopefully a more stable rotation and coaching situation will allow Thornton to return to his former glory.