For the Sacramento Kings’ Marcus Thornton, the 2012-13 season is one he’d like to forget – not so much for his on court play, but simply because he didn’t get on the court. Well, not as often as he’d like.
With a couple public Twitter rants/comments, Thornton made it clear he wasn’t happy with his role that saw his minutes reduced greatly and in his words was just “waiting to be unleashed”. Well, he may not have been unleashed, but despite a slow start to the season, the LSU product turned in quite possibly his best season as a Sacramento King. Here is his 2012-13 season review.
It could be said that no player was more adversely affected by Keith Smart‘s rotations than Marcus Thornton. A year after leading the Kings in points per game, Thornton was asked to move to the 6th man role. He didn’t take well to the change. While I’ve consistently been in Thornton’s corner and believe his role should have been more prominent, even I can’t excuse his early season play. New role aside, Thornton simply did not perform like he has in the past. Certainly the demotion to the bench was a factor, but when you’re the Kings best gunner, missing shots is an easy way to lose the coach’s faith. Thornton struggled through much of the year, but post All-Star break, he seemed to finally find a rhythm. Toward the end of the year Smart seemed more willing to include Thornton in a lineup with fellow guards Isaiah Thomas and Tyreke Evans. In this grouping, we saw glimpses of the unconscious, lethal scorer that was a fixture in Thornton’s previous seasons with the Kings — his eight-trey performance in the double OT loss at Miami stands out. Through the ups and downs, Thornton still played with the same passion and aggressiveness, and there’s still no other player, for my money, who should have the ball with the game on the line. Guards are aplenty on Sacramento’s roster, but I’m hoping Thornton doesn’t get the squeeze. His scoring instincts for a 25-year-old are well above average, and he can be a huge weapon for the Kings going forward.
Marcus Thornton is best known by most Sacramento Kings fans as “Buckets” because of his ability to rain down a flood of two and three point shots to confound the opponent and ignite his team and fans.
Geoff Petrie acquired him in a trade from New Orleans on February 23, 2011, where he was averaging 16.2 minutes per game as a bench player. Thornton made an immediate impact shortly after he arrived in Sacramento with his toughness, scoring finesse, and clutch mentality. In one of his first games for Sacramento, on February 28, 2011, he made 29 points in 27 minutes in a win against the Los Angeles Clippers. It is no understatement to say fans were thrilled with this new player.
Thornton started in 74 out of 78 games his first two seasons with the Kings. Last season, with the reshuffling of the starting guard rotations he was assigned a 6th man role. Following his reassignment, he struggled for a period with his shot, although he finished the season stronger than he started. One of his memorable high performance games came on February 26, 2013 at Miami, where he made 8 out of 12 3-point attempts in 40 minutes of play.
Thornton is valued primarily as a scoring option, whether as a starter or in the 6th man role. His cool mentality and ability to hit shots makes him a valuable option to start, close, or turn a game around. He serves as a role-model to his teammates with his unwavering confidence. Despite some of his struggles this season, it is hoped the anticipated changes to management and staff will bring greater stability for the franchise and promote a winning environment to bring the best out of all the players. Thornton is one my favorite players and I look forward to seeing more of him next season in a Kings uniform.
It was a rough go for Marcus Thornton this past season. The Bayou Bomber’s minutes per game dropped from 34 minutes a contest in 2011-12 to 24 in 2012-13, yet, his percentages actually went up – something that given some of his performances throughout the season, you really wouldn’t have expected.
On the defensive end, Thornton was, well, Thornton. He’s never one that doesn’t give a full effort but his footwork is highly questionable, resulting in his .1 defensive win share. His offensive win share dropped from his 3.7 rating in 2011-12 , though, not significantly and odd as it may be to say, Thornton – at least numbers wise, had a better year this past year off the bench.
It’s not a role Thornton is happy with, which he made clear on Twitter a handful of times. That said, when Thornton eventually adapted to the role, he became the prototypical sixth man that so many teams lust after.
You wouldn’t have assumed it, but across the board, Thornton’s 2012-13 season was his best in a Kings uniform – shocking as that is to say.