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Tag:Marcus Thornton
Posted on: January 25, 2012 3:56 pm
 

Thornton to miss 1-2 weeks with hematoma

By Matt Moore

From the Sacramento Kings Wednesday: 
A diagnostic ultrasound test performed on guard Marcus Thronton today at the UC Davis Medical Center revealed a significant hematoma in his left thigh. He is expected to miss approximately one to two weeks of action.
Thornton has also missed the past four games with the injury. The injury is similar but not identical to a thigh bruise and is probably pretty painful. He's averaging 16 points and 4 rebounds per game for Sacramento, and losing him takes a big sting out of their offense just as they've started to play more coherently on offense. 

This does open up more room for Jimmer Fredette, though. Which is great since he's shooting 35 percent from the field with a 19 percent usage rate and averaging 3 assists per 36 minutes. Wait, that's not good at all. 

The Kings face Denver at home Wednesday night.  
Posted on: January 5, 2012 9:26 pm
Edited on: January 5, 2012 9:29 pm
 

Kings sign Smart as head coach... for two years?



By Matt Moore


So Paul Westphal was fired today as head coach of the Sacramento Kings. That's not really surprising, given the disappointing start to the season for the Kings and the continuing discord between Westphal, star power forward DeMarcus Cousins, and the general unrest in the locker room. Assistant coach Keith Smart was assigned as head coach for the time being, then immediately upgraded to interim coach. OK, that makes sense. Smart's been interim coach for two different teams in the past, has a lot of experience, and the Kings could use a steady hand and won't want to pay the money to essentially bring on a second coach when they have to pay out the rest of Westphal's contract. 

This all makes a modicum of sense, at least in the way that most NBA things do. 

But then there's this.

Yahoo Sports reports that the Kings have signed Smart for two years, with the deal guaranteed through 2013.

Sorry, come again?

The Kings have just committed to two years of a very qualified, very well-respected interim coach...who went 36-46 with the Warriors last year. The Kings are in a crucial position right now. They have to get Cousins back on the track to not only calming down emotionally, but contributing efficiently on the court. Tyreke Evans has to get sorted out because his game is mess right now. Marcus Thornton has to learn how to play off the ball. The team has to learn what a pass is. There's a world of work to be done, and if it goes wrong, it's going to set the franchise back another two to three seasons. 

Which is why you don't buy the cow just because you know it can produce milk of some kind.

I want to be clear, it's not that Smart can't work out. For all we know this could wind up as a genius signing if Smart pulls a Thunder Brooks and takes the team to the next level. It's a different situation entirely in a lot of ways but "young team with talent struggles, fires its coach and finds its answer from within" is not an impossible scenario. But you want to leave yourself an out.

Putting Smart in for the rest of the year gives you the ability to look for an upgrade at season's end. If someone is looking to get back into coaching and likes what he's seen of the Kings and is an upgrade on Smart, why not take a look at him? If Smart really does excel, you can always re-sign him or extend him. Even make the second year non-guaranteed. It's great to give a coach your confidence and the ability to coach without fear for his job. But you're not worried about this year in terms of wins and losses. You're worried about the next four years. 

The terrifying element behind this for Kings fans is that it seems financially-related. Getting Smart now at a cheap price keeps their costs low.  It seems like a move made not for what's best for the team, but to cover for the financial impact of Westphal without risking Smart's price going up. And for a team in the Kings' situation, they can't afford to not afford what's best for the organization.
Posted on: December 14, 2011 1:20 pm
Edited on: December 15, 2011 1:54 am
 

2011-12 NBA Season: Pacific Division Preview



By Matt Moore


We're less than two weeks away from the start of the 2011-2012 NBA season. After an interminable lockout and a rushed free agency period, here's a first look division-by-division preview at how the league is shaping up. We begin with the Pacific Division.

2011 Standings:

Los Angeles Lakers, 57-25, lost 4-0 to Dallas Mavericks in 2nd round of Western Conference Playoffs
Phoenix Suns, 42-42, NBA Draft lottery
Golden State Warriors,36-46, NBA Draft lottery
Los Angeles Clippers, 32-50, NBA Draft lottery
Sacramento Kings, 24-58, NBA Draft lottery

Best team: Well, see, the thing is... Chris Paul (UPDATE: TIE- LOS ANGELES LAKERS AND LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS)

Chris Paul was traded to the Los Angeles Clippers Tuesday night. Even with the Lakers unable to obtain Paul, the combination of Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, and Andrew Bynum is probably enough to take the honors here. But with Paul joining Blake Griffin, even without Eric Gordon, the additions of Caron Butler, Chauncey Billups and re-signing DeAndre Jordan make as tough of a team to face as any. Griffin's impact next to Chris Paul is nearly incalculable.

The Lakers may still have the edge, but after the loss of Odom, everything is up in the air as far as who runs Staples now. The reality is that Paul landing in the city of L.A. will shift the division in one direction or another for the next half-decade at least.

Worst team: Sacramento Kings

The Kings are tricky. They have a convoluted backcourt. Tyreke Evans took a step back last season and it remains to be seen if it was all injury-related or not. There's no telling how Jimmer Fredette will adjust to the pro level. Marcus Thornton will struggle for minutes despite his all-around ability. John Salmons is floating around. There were huge chemistry questions last season and the players struggled against coach Paul Westphal at times.

If things don't improve, if DeMarcus Cousins doesn't mature, if Chuck Hayes can't protect the rim enough with his diminutive stature, things could get bad. And yet...

Biggest surprise: Sacramento Kings

There's so much firepower in that backcourt. Untangling it is complicated but they have everything. Shooting, athleticism, size, range, explosiveness, savvy, handle, everything. They have too much ability to not be effective in some ways. Cousins was a beast last season and even a small amount of maturity and development means he could be a near-All-Star (in the East, the West is too stacked). They have young talented bigs and Hayes who provides savvy and veteran knowledge.

The pieces are there. They're going to be exciting, even if they're struggling with an identity.

Three Best Players: Kobe Bryant, Blake Griffin, Pau Gasol, Steve Nash, Chris Paul

Update: With Paul joining the division, he instantly becomes one of the three best players. The best pure point guard in the league, with excellent shooting touch, terrific defense, and a supreme will to win? He leap-frogs both Pau and Nash. 

Kobe Bryant needs no explanation, even at his age. The end.

Blake Griffin is the most explosive player in the league and the first player in a few years for people to say he could legitimately be the best player in the league at one point. His explosiveness and rebounding is unmatched, his mid-range jumper isn't lightyears away and his defense will get there. Already, Griffin is a force to be reckoned with. What happens when he gets better?

Gasol vs. Nash? Gasol was an early season MVP candidate. He is arguably the most skilled big man in the league (as opposed to Dwight Howard, the most dominant and most talented). And yet his collapse in the 2011 playoffs is the stuff of legend. It was such a complete failure at both ends, when the Lakers needed him most, it's damning. Gasol could very well be the second best player in this division this year. He could also slide back with age.

Nash? Ho-hum, another 50-40-90 season (got to round up for once, but still). His weighted assists, factoring three-pointers assisted on, left him at 13, which means combined with his 15 points per game, he contributed 41 points per game to the Suns. That's absurd. It's also not the highest in the league for a point guard, but it's still an example of how good Nash is. He's flat-out old in relative terms of the league, and yet is in the best shape he possibly could be thanks to conditioning. Nash is still elite, an therefore neither he nor Gasol can be exempted.

Biggest Question: Can Golden State change its stripes?

Mark Jackson has to completely turn what the Warriors know as their identity inside out. They have to commit to defensive principles. David Lee, Monta Ellis, Stephen Curry, these players are not known for this, at all. It's going to take a miracle. If Jackson can get them to buy in and if his system is good enough, the Warriors could make a jump. Kwame Brown helps down low (don't laugh, he's become a quality defender). But there's so much to be done in terms of changing this team's indentity, the Warriors could be in for rocky seas.

2012 Projected Standings:
1. Los Angeles Lakers
2. Los Angeles Clippers
3. Golden State Warriors
4. Phoenix Suns
5. Sacramento Kings
Posted on: June 21, 2011 8:49 pm
 

Report: Raymond Felton rumors heating up

Posted by Matt Moore

So it's come to this for Raymond Felton. From underrated point guard in Charlotte, helping the Bobcats make their first playoff game, to heralded new York Knicks point guard of the future, to Carmelo Anthony trade bait, and now this. Shopped for a lousy draft pick in a lousy draft.

ESPN reports:
Would the Kings be willing to send the No. 7 pick to the Nuggets for Raymond Felton and the No. 22 pick? The Kings have had interest in Felton but it's probably going to take them giving up the No. 7 pick to get him. I wouldn't be shocked to see the Nuggets grab Jonas Valanciunas or Bismack Biyombo if they could get up to No. 7.
via Latest draft buzz: Kings' No. 7 for Felton? - TrueHoop Blog - ESPN.

When Felton landed in Denver, I was positive he was going to start. He'd been a starter for years, was a better defender than Lawson, and would pitch a fit if he was benched for such a young player. But credit to the Nuggets, they knew that Lawson was their guy going forward and they stuck with him. Now Felton wants out, and the Nuggets are happy to oblige him, especially if they can get another young asset to their army of young assets. The No. 7 pick isn't exactly a goldmine in this draft, they'll have a shot at a few high caliber prospects, though you'd have to question if Bismack Biyombo is really the kind of player they want to add to a team that needs substantial help down low besides Nene. The Nuggets would also be in a position of need for a backup point guard if this were to shake out.

Felton is a perfect fit in Sacramento, despite what will probably bum him out in being in a smaller market again, overshadowed by younger players who haven't been around as long. A starting 1-2-3-4 rotation of Felton, Marcus Thornton, Tyreke Evans at a combo 2-3 spot and DeMarcus Cousins gives the Kings a foundation going forward. They've needed a steady hand at point guard and could certainly use Felton's defense. 

Maybe it'll work out for Felton, but it's still got to be a disappointment to have gone from the wanted sidekick star in New York under a coach that makes point guards look great to being unable to unseat a younger player on a rebuilding team and getting shopped for a draft pick in a poor class. Someone get the guy a hug. Wait a minute, he got that new contract from New York last summer and Larry Brown is no longer haunting him. Nevermind, he's good.  
Posted on: February 23, 2011 4:43 pm
Edited on: February 23, 2011 4:44 pm
 

Trade Tracker: Kings swap Landry to NOLA

An updating list of trades at the NBA Trade Deadline. Posted by EOB staff. 

Carl Landry traded to Hornets for Marcus Thornton


New Orleans receives: Carl Landry


Sacramento receives: Marcus Thornton, and cash

Analysis: We touched on this last night when the story broke, but essentially, it's a questionable move for the Hornets, who are hoping for a special combination with him and the Hornets guards. At least it means less time for Jason Smith. For the Kings, they get some cap relief and a good young wing player who can drop 30 at any given moment. Now, how this fits in with a crowded backcourt rotation is anyone's guess, but it's great return on investment. 
Posted on: February 23, 2011 12:52 am
 

Trade Deadline: Landry to Hornets for Thornton

Hornets trade Marcus Thornton to Kings for Carl Landry. We're not sure why.
Posted by Matt Moore

Multiple sources including NBA FanHouse and Yahoo! Sports are reporting that the Sacramento Kings and New Orleans Hornets have agreed to a trade which would send Carl Landry to the Hornets in exchange for Marcus Thornton and cash. The deal is expected to be completed tomorrow.

We expected the Hornets to be active. And we expected them to look for frontcourt help. But Carl Landry? It's not that Landry's not a good player, he certainly was for Houston. He's got good touch around the basket and great effort. But he's also the 14th worst power forward in defensive rebound rate and the worst power forward at the same stat among players averaging 25 minutes per game. It's entirely possible that he'll explode next to Chris Paul, but what good power forward doesn't? The numbers aren't positive, however. 

Landry has averaged a 34% FG percentage in the pick and roll this season according to Synergy Sports. He shoots 49.6% out of the post, which is nice, but he also turns the ball over an astonishing 17.5% of the time there. Defensively, he hasn't been bad this season, but he's also struggled with a number of things, most notably in the post. He's surrendering a 50% FG percentage in the post this season, which is in the 25th percentile of the league. Not exactly great. 

Thornton is a bit more complicated. He hasn't gotten nearly as many minutes as Landry this year, as Monty Williams has not been impressed with him. But he's been effective at both ends of the floor for the Hornets, and should work well in Sacramento off the bench. He's been particularly good against the pick and roll defensively, although in a limited sample size. 

Thornton, though, holds the potential to be an explosive scorer.  He can really fill it up, hence the nickname, "Buckets." He's also the kind of player fans irrationally attach themselves to, so Sacramento's got that going for them. But the Hornets? They're basically hoping Landry becomes a defensive stalwart suddenly and keeps up his ability on the offensive glass while improving his defensive rebounding. Maybe working next to Emeka Okafor will bring out his best, but it's a stretch. Bodies matter for the playoffs, and Jason Smith is terrible, but when it comes down to it, the Hornets have gambled heavily here. 

The Hornets took a dive headed into the All-Star break, but more concering is their trade history, adding Jarrett Jack, Trevor Ariza, and Carl Landry for Marcus Thornton, Jerryd Bayless, and Darren Collison. If the end result is a long playoff push, great. If not? There will be some questions in the Big Easy.
Posted on: December 14, 2010 6:27 pm
Edited on: December 14, 2010 6:28 pm
 

3-Up, 3-Down: The top keeps rising

Posted by Royce Young



Three teams that are rising and three that are falling in this week's edition of our Power Rankings:

3-UP

Chicago Bulls (6): The Bulls are quickly becoming a strong riser in the East. They made the biggest jump going up five spots in the rankings. They're winning with a ton of defense and with Carlos Boozer back, are a cool 6-1 and winners of six straight. Now with Boozer playing at a high level, coupled with Derrick Rose's MVP emergence and the fact Luol Deng is a capable third scorer, the Bulls have every right to stake a claim as one of the East's true contenders.

Oklahoma City Thunder (10): Floundering a bit here and there, they have. While the Thunder just rose up two spots this week, they are definitely in the category of rising. Oklahoma City is playing better and have three more home games after blowing the doors off the Cavaliers Sunday by 29 (largest win ever by the Thunder in OKC). Expectations were a bit inflated before the season so some were a little discouraged with OKC's up and down start, but the Thunder appear to be settling in. Kevin Durant is regaining his scoring machine swagger, Russell Westbrook is tearing apart opponents and even James Harden is finding some offensive game.

Milwaukee Bucks (16): The Bucks were a big riser, going up five spots this week. A lot of that is because of their big road win over the streaking Mavericks, but the Bucks are winners of three straight and of four of five overall. Plus, the wins are against quality opponents (Magic, Pacers, Rockets, Mavs). At 10-13, Milwaukee has been disappointing after its playoff run last season, but it appears that the Bucks might be finding themselves a bit lately.

3-DOWN

Phoenix Suns (19): The Suns have slipped five spots and could be heading for an even bigger dip as the schedule doesn't get easy ahead. After a winnable game against Minnesota, the Suns play at Dallas, at Oklahoma City, at San Antonio and home against the Heat. Yikes. They've lost three straight and have fallen below .500 at 11-12. After next week, Phoenix could be multiple games under.

New Orleans Hornets (14): The fall continues. The Hornets are 3-7 in their last 10 and have dropped three straight. And this is after starting the season 8-0 and then 11-1. Consider this fun fact: The Hornets haven't scored 100 points in their last 13 games. Offense is a big issue late in games with Chris Paul desperately looking for scoring options. Trevor Ariza hasn't been the answer and coach Monty Williams continues to sit potential spark Marcus Thornton.

Denver Nuggets (12): This feels like a temporary fall, as the Nuggs have dropped three of four, but all were on the road against decently decent teams. They're quite inconsistent though, so Denver is certainly a candidate to drop multiple games. But at the same time, the Nuggets also look like one of the top teams in the West on any given night, so who knows, they could be headed up. But Chauncey Billups is now battling a wrist injury and with the Carmelo stuff reaching its apex, the distractions could weigh heavily on the Nuggets.

Be sure to check the full rankings out here.

Posted on: November 15, 2010 8:09 am
Edited on: August 14, 2011 8:46 pm
 

Shootaround 11.15.10: Suns scorch Lakers

The Phoenix Suns get red hot from outside, Ken Berger checks in with the latest CBA negotiation updates, Evan Turner dorks out again, the Randy Foye / Brandon Roy 2006 draft night trade gets a second look, and a whole lot more. 

Posted by Ben Golliver
  • CBSSports.com's Ken Berger with the latest on the NBA's collective bargaining negotiations: "Commissioner David Stern and deputy commissioner Adam Silver will match wits with union chief Billy Hunter and president Derek Fisher of the Lakers on Thursday, Fisher told CBSSports.com. Fisher, who will be in Minneapolis on an off-day during the Lakers' road trip through the Midwest, will participate via conference call."
  • Denver forward Gary Forbes has been the subject of lots of Twitter jokes because his name sounds more like an investment advisor's rather than an NBA player's, but he's been a nice early spark for the Nuggets. Nuggets.com offers a nice profile, and discusses his battle with Type 1 diabetes.   
  • This video won't help Philadelphia 76ers rookie Evan Turner's cause against his critics, who hammer on his nerdiness. Turner sits in a dark room and discusses his basketball cards. "Did you collect cards as a kid?," Turner is asked. "I sure did," Turner replies. "I collected a lot of them." Steve Urkel status. Told that one of his rookie cards is worth $120, Turner replies, "That's a cool thing. I just hope the value doesn't drop." Get excited, Philly!
  • ESPN Radio "personality" Colin Cowherd, who has been immensely critical of Washington Wizards point guard John Wall for his pre-game dancing and supposed lack of leadership qualities, "has sold his life story to CBS for a sitcom deal," reports HollywoodReporter.com.
  • Way back during the 2006 NBA draft, the Portland Trail Blazers thought they got a steal when they traded Randy Foye to Minnesota for Brandon Roy. Moves like this by general manager Kevin Pritchard earned the term "Pritchslap" in Portland. But StarTribune.com notes that Minnesota was willing to do the deal, in part, because of concerns over Roy's knee. "One of the reasons the Wolves traded Roy for Foye and cash is their doctors deemed Roy's knees too much of a risk. Now, Roy is struggling with his health -- his left knee, in particular -- and he suggested recently that his most athletic days are behind him." Roy did more in his first four years in the league than Foye will do in his entire career, but his recent injury struggles are casting the trade in a new light. 
  • ESPN.com reports that second-year New Orleans guard Marcus Thornton, who was recently placed on the inactive list because the Hornets have brought in so many other guards, may be on the trading block. "The Hornets aren't eager to part with the 23-year-old, but word is they are prepared to do so if a suitable offer materializes. One problem, though, is that Thornton on his own can't bring much back in return since he's making only $762,195 this season. The flip side: Thornton will undoubtedly appeal to several teams because he produced like a starter as a rook and costs so little."
  • In other New Orleans Hornets end of the bench news, forward Joe Alexander got waived, reports Nola.com. “Joe was in a tough spot,” [Hornets coach Monty] Williams said. “He didn’t get a chance to play as much, and I just felt like he was going to need to go somewhere else and play so he could further his career.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com