Thornton looked mightily impressive when scouting him at first glance. He's a volume scorer who plays almost entirely off the ball. He loves basket cuts, shooting off screens, shooting kick outs, and even sets up in the post. He has great versatility in what he brings to the table and put up a tremendous amount of points.
Unfortunately, when you start figuring out how he'll fit in the NBA
there are some concerns. He's not a good isolation player which is a
red flag for a guard going into the NBA. He doesn't have a strong
enough handle or good enough athleticism to break guys down off the
dribble and generate his own shot effectively which greatly limits his
upside potential in the NBA. While a team could take him and set up
lots of screens and picks to free him up and get him looks, it's a lot
of work to do for a guy who's not an amazing shooter (though he's good)
and doesn't bring a ton of other positives to the table.
has potential to, at the very least, fill an Eddy House role for a
team. He's a high quality shooter even when running off a screen and
shooting after stopping on a dime. He'll hit kick outs from the
corner as well. He'll need to work on adding NBA range, but his
shooting touch makes this highly likely and only a matter of how
consistent he can get from the NBA three point line.
of initiator skill will make it hard for him to play on the ball in the
NBA, which isn't always a bad thing, but it will require him to land on
a team willing to fit him in with what he can do well.
Thornton doesn't offer all that much and gives up a lot of blowbys.
He's also always looking to push the break in transition, so he often
starts running down the court before his team secures the defensive
rebound which sometimes really hurts his team (though I suppose it also
sometimes really helps them offensively).
He's probably not
going to measure out as a legit 6'4 and he doesn't have the freak
athleticism to dominate as an undersized two. He's not horrible, but
on the next level he won't have the size, strength, or height to
effectively guard SGs while not having the quickness to guard PGs.
has virtually no shot of playing any position other than SG on the next
level due to his lack of size to play SF, lack of quickness/ball
handling to play PG. Thus, how well he can improve his range and
accuracy will be the biggest factors in how successful he can be, and
the lack of positional versatility isn't good for a guy who's not a
clear cut starter at a position since he can't backup multiple spots
from the bench.
Thornton does play hard though. He follows
his shot well and fights hard on the offensive glass. He searches to
draw body contact when the drives to create free throws, a trait which
will help him a lot in the NBA. He'll also ignite your transition
game as stated above even if it gives you some downside to your
From what I hear he's a very likable guy
with good intangibles which may also help him some. As I reported
earlier, he's presently staying with Tyrus Thomas and working out with
him as well. Thornton looks like a very solid prospect at #26
talentwise, but I'm not sure if the Bulls will be able to fit their
offense to work well with him, and they may be looking for more
versatility off the bench as far as positions a guy can play.
Thornton's an NBA player most likely, and a lot of late 1sts aren't.
Getting a versatile guy who's not really good enough to play any
position doesn't help you as much as a less versatile guy who's good
enough to play one position.