Marcus Thornton proved to be one of the most exciting scoring rookies last season. He’s a significant part of the Hornets’ hopes to rebuild themselves into a playoff team (and keep CP3 from bolting for greener pastures). So obviously they’re going to feature him prominently and have him lining up beside Chris Paul in the starting five, right? Not so much. The New Orleans Times Picayune reports the following from head coach Monty Williams:
“I like Marcus off the bench and he’s done a good job of buying into that,’’ Williams said. “I think he can be valuable to us with the firepower off the bench. You look at good teams around the league they got guys coming off the bench that can change the game. I told him it’s not who starts all the time, but if you can finish games is just as important.’’
Okay, then, not so much with the starting. Williams is right. This isn’t a reflection on Thornton, or if it is, it’s in the positive. Being the focal point of the offense off the bench can be more important than a fourth option in the starting five. A good comparison is Manu Ginobili. Ginobili plays long minutes and finishes games despite a traditional sixth man role. Thornton has an opportunity to provide a similar set of assets for the Hornets.
Hey, isn’t new GM Dell Demps coming from the Spurs system?
Thornton has to be considered a top candidate for Sixth Man this year. The Hornets don’t have a ton of scoring options, and with Thornton averaging 20.3 points and over 4 rebounds per 36 minutes, and due for an increase in minutes, he’s going to be right at the top of the list. The real question is going to be if Marco Belinelli can make it as a starter. That’s quite a jump for a guy who’s never been put in that position for a contending team.
Report: Danny Ferry not expected to supplant Dell Demps as Pelicans GM
Don’t look for Danny Ferry, currently an advisor to the front office, to take over in any shakeup, sources say.
I’m skeptical. Nobody wants to acknowledge an internal coup before it’s executed. Doing so would create a terrible workplace environment until it happens or if it doesn’t.
The Pelicans’ ownership situation makes this a little more tricky. There’s an apparent desire in New Orleans to win quickly for an aging Benson, and that directive has limited Demps’ flexibility.
Still, Demps’ plans have mostly busted. Eventually, he’ll run out of chances to try new ones.
If that happens soon, when the Pelicans search for a replacement, Ferry will be right there with an impressive record building up Atlanta and no stains that make him unhirable to New Orleans. Would the Pelicans, who thought enough of him to hire him once already, really not consider promoting him?
Report: Potential top-10 pick, Indiana’s OG Anunoby, undergoes season-ending knee surgery
Indiana Hoosiers sophomore forward OG Anunoby will undergo right knee surgery and miss the rest of the NCAA season, sources told The Vertical.
The 6-foot-8 small forward is a versatile defender. He has grown as a shooter, and there’s hope he could become a 3-and-D player – or, given his athleticism, maybe more.
Anunoby wasn’t in the top tier of prospects in a loaded 2017 NBA draft, but he was headed toward the lottery, maybe even the top 10. How he recovers from this injury will factor significantly into his draft stock now.
On the bright side, this is less opportunity for scouts to pick apart his raw offense (though it’s also less opportunity for Anunoby to develop).
NBA: Mavericks got away with key late foul in win over Bulls
Curry (DAL) clamps the arm of Lopez (CHI) and affects his ability to retrieve the rebound.
A correct call would’ve put Dallas in the penalty and sent Lopez – who has made 66% of his free throws this season and and 76% for his career – to the line for two attempts.
Instead, not only was Lopez denied his free throws, he committed a frustration foul on Dirk Nowitzki – who grabbed the rebound with help of Curry – moments later. Nowitzki converted one of two free throws.
We’ll never know how the rest of the game would’ve played out after a correct call, but a swing of 1-to-3 points is pretty big in a one-point game.