March 16, 2012; Sacramento, CA, USA; Sacramento Kings guardMarcus Thornton
(23) controls the ball against the Boston Celtics during the third quarter at Power Balance Pavilion. The Sacramento Kings defeated the Boston Celtics 120-95. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-US PRESSWIRE
Acquired from the New Orleans Hornets for Carl Landry, Marcus Thornton quickly found a home in Sacramento putting up gaudy numbers in his first half season as a King which lead to an equally gaudy contract that offseason. A year removed from his new deal and Thornton is still producing at high levels, but despite his efficiency, he’s not assured a starting spot as the re-tooled Kings face a crunch in the backcourt. With an offensive game that can be as equally impactful both off the bench or starting, it’ll be interesting to see what head coach Keith Smart does with the former LSU product, but for now, here’s what the A Royal Pain team feels will happen to Thornton this season:
Scott – Last season was Thornton’s first as a full-time starter and the results were positive for the most part. Some are still critical of his shoot-first mentality, but Thornton has a confidence that most on the Kings lack. His role is in question, and he could be relegated to bench duty, which would be a shame. Nobody outside of DeMarcus Cousins has a bigger claim to the ball in crunch time than Thornton, and even if he serves a reserve role, he should be on the court in the fourth quarter. His game will continue to develop, and the bulldog shooting guard will find even more ways to score the basketball.
Marilyn -Marcus Thornton is a very talented shooter. Geoff Petrie signed him in the second half of the 2010-11 NBA Season, when Thornton played for the New Orleans Hornets. He didn’t get a lot of minutes when he was in New Orleans. He didn’t get any starts that season, averaging 16.2 minutes per game. Much of his time was on the bench waiting for an opportunity to get into the game. Petrie snagged him in a trade for Carl Landry, in a shrew move. Thornton came in and knocked down a lot of shots, averaging 21.3 points per game toward the end of the 2010-11 Season with the Kings. When Thornton gets the hot hand the game becomes electric. He seems to thrive under pressure. It is unclear whether Thornton will be starting or coming off the bench. If Smart is looking for a One-Two Punch, Thornton could do a very good job landing that second punch off the bench.
Bryan – The definition of a gunner, Thornton plays at one speed – and that speed is shoot. As Scott mentioned, Thornton’s confidence in himself is quite high and that shows in his game as he’s never met a spot on the floor he didn’t like. That said, for a guy that spends most of his time out on the perimeter offensively, he puts up very solid percentages both inside and outside of the arc and he has proven himself to be a fantastic offensive compliment to the Kings roster. His defense at times can be suspect, but you don’t find yourself questioning Thornton’s efforts. The Kings’ offensive closer, Thornton might find himself in a struggle to start games with the new guard heavy roster, but he’ll certainly be on the floor as they end.