|DraftExpress: Neil Olshey disagrees: http://es.pn/gsTPRU RT @HowardBeckNYT: Al Thornton, #14 pick in 2007, waived by the Wizards. Nice drafting, Clippers.|
|DraftExpress: For D-League yes. For NBA no RT @ScottSchroeder: I'd rather have Al Thornton on my team than Corey Brewer, teams trying to sign Corey Brewer|
|In come Quincy Douby, Kyle Lowry and Al Thornton for Speights, Harris, Wright....|
|Watching a pretty impressive shooting display from Jared Dudley, Al Thornton and Quincy Douby here. Net not moving a whole lot so far.|
|Jared Dudley and Al Thornton shooting. http://tweetphoto.com/42385627|
|Top 25s - Full List|
|Team: NON-NBA College Team:
H: 6' 7"|
W: 221 lbs
(30 Years Old)
|RSCI: 110||Agent: Bill Duffy ||
High School: Perry
Hometown: Perry, GA
Pick 14 in 2007 by Clippers
Best Case: Corey Maggette
Worst Case: Trevor Ariza
|Year||Source||Height w/o Shoes||Height w/shoes||Weight||Wingspan||Standing Reach||Body Fat||No Step Vert||Max Vert|
|2007||NBA Pre-Draft Camp||6' 5.75"||6' 7"||221||7' 1"||8' 8"||5.8||35.0||41.0|
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Las Vegas Summer League Day Two|
July 13, 2008
Thornton was incredibly productive today, mostly because he shoots the ball almost every time he touches it. He failed to tally an assist, a testament to just how frequently he looks to score. Thornton looked great in both catch and shoot situations as well as pull ups of the dribble. He doesn’t have great ball handling ability, but is so explosive that he’s very tough to defend regardless. Thornton grabbed quite a few rebounds today, and even hit an NBA three, two things that he needs to do consistently to augment what he already brings to the table. Thornton may not be the most versatile guy, but he certainly gets the job done.
[Read Full Article]
NCAA Weekly Performers-- 3/8/2007, Part One
March 8, 2007
The Seminole senior has shown throughout the season that he is a near automatic shooter from 17 feet and in, whether it be off of the dribble or with his feet set. Although his shooting form is a bit mechanical, he has a virtually unblock able release point on his jumper and can hit his pullup going either left or right. Thornton does an outstanding job utilizing his shot fake as well, which is identical to his actual jumper, forcing defenders to bite on it the large majority of the time. He has shown the ability to consistently knock down the three point shot this year, shooting 44.8% from beyond the arc and nailing 30 three pointers so far on the season—admittedly a small sample size.
What makes Thornton even tougher to guard however is his remarkable first step for a 6’7 player. He is too quick for opposing power forwards to stay in front of and too skilled on the blocks for a small forward to defend. The Florida native has shown the ability to absolutely smoke big men off of the dribble and get to the rim, especially when going to his right. In the low post, he generally goes towards his left shoulder for a turnaround jumper, but does a pretty adequate job of actually feeling his defender out and taking what the defense gives him.
We briefly touched on Thornton’s athleticism when mentioning his first step, but there is so much more to his athletic prowess then that. He is an incredibly quick leaper, often getting off the ground twice before his opponent is able to leap once. This also allows him to score over taller, longer opponents such as Brandan Wright and Josh McRoberts. His leaping ability is quite freakish, although he relies on his hops a bit more then you’d like when it comes to his rebounding. Thornton does not do a remarkable job boxing out, attempting to outleap other power forwards in an effort to coral rebounds. While this has worked to the tune of 7.2 rebounds per game this year, he would be much closer to 10 rebounds per contest if he chose to box out from time to time, and put in slightly more effort on a consistent basis.
It has been a bit hard to gauge his defensive ability due to the fact that Florida State runs quite a bit of zone, and even when they play man to man defense, Thornton is usually guarding a post player. One thing that is awfully evident is his insistence to bite for virtually ever shot fake, leaving his Seminole teammates to play five on four basketball since he takes himself out of the play. While he is a decent shot blocker (1.2 blocks per game), he needs to stay on his feet more if he wants to be a solid defender at the next level.
Generally, Thornton does a solid job with defensive rotations and keeping his man in front of him once the offensive player has put the ball on the floor a few times. One thing that he struggles with though is closing out, as he routinely sprints out at 100 miles per hour out of control when rotating, allowing his man to simply drive right around him and collapse the defense. This is due to Thornton’s lack of defensive fundamentals, though, and not his natural ability to move his feet. The potential is certainly there for him to be a solid defender in the NBA, but he will first need to learn the necessary defensive principles in order to fully utilize his athletic gifts, as well as show better awareness on this end of the floor.
On the offensive end, Thornton is a downright atrocious passer. He is averaging less then 1 assist per game on the year, and is sporting a .33/1 assist to turnover ratio. He just doesn’t really seem to have a good feel for finding the open man, and often dribbles with his head down. His ball-handling ability has also been a question mark, considering that some view him as a full time small forward prospect. While he will never be a guy who breaks players down with a remarkable crossover or inside out dribble, he is completely adequate as a quick two to three dribble threat, and has no problem creating space for himself off of the dribble when need be.
Many have questioned what position Thornton will play at the next level, but it has been made evident this season that he is capable of playing both forward positions in spurts in the NBA. The Shawn Marion comparisons are inevitable, with remarkably similar athleticism, first steps, and quick leaping ability to go along with lack of a true position on the floor. He would be best fitted in an up and down style of play, where he would be able to utilize his athletic abilities and length to the fullest capabilities.
In the past year, there might not be another player whose stock has gone up as much as Thornton’s has. He went from intriguing prospect last year to a possible first team All-American this year. Had he entered the draft last year, he would have likely seen himself picked somewhere in the second round. With the 2007 Draft’s lack of depth outside of the top ten players, Thornton has a good a shot to land in the late lottery and looks very solid right now as a top 20 pick.
[Read Full Article]
NCAA Weekly Performers (12/4/2006)--Part Two
December 6, 2006
About 10 ½ months ago, we featured Thornton for the first time on this site, talking about his fantastic physical tools—then compared to Hakim Warrick--but also about the long road he had in front of him before being able to be considered a full-time perimeter player. Nearly a year later, Thornton seems to have made some terrific strides in that area and is looking more fluid and confident on the wing than we’ve ever remembered him. He did almost all of his damage in this game off the bounce—using his awesome first step to take his man off the dribble and then letting his fantastic legs guide him through the lane to soar for some incredibly athletic finishes. His mid-range game was on full display throughout, coming off a screen to elevate high off the ground for a jumper, utilizing pump-fakes like a pro, pulling up off one bounce confidently and smoothly, or even showing the capacity to execute more complicated plays—for example a fade-away pull-up off two dribbles after a lightning quick spin move. All these moves look a lot more polished than they ever did in the past, as if he’s been working on them non-stop since his team was snubbed out of the NCAA Tournament—which is reportedly exactly the case.
Thornton might be considered a position-less player at the NCAA level considering the way he’s used, but in his case, and with the direction the NBA seems to be heading in—we’re not so sure that’s as much of a negative as once thought. Thornton—playing the power forward position alongside the 3 combo guards FSU likes to run with at the same time--was defended by a very ill Joakim Noah for most of the game. Regardless of his matchup’s health problems, there usually isn’t much his defenders can do to stop him at this level since we’re talking about arguably the quickest power forward in the NCAA. Thornton is just too slithery to keep a body on, and when you consider his toughness, freakish wingspan and relentless motor, it’s no surprise at all to see him end the game with 6 offensive rebounds. He just beats players to the spot on a consistent basis and seems to want the ball much more than anyone else.
We’re not talking with a player with a terribly high basketball IQ, nor the best fundamentals in the world, but despite turning 23 years old in just two days, he doesn’t look anywhere near a finished product either. His general skill-level could still stand to improve in the half-court, particularly his ability to execute sets, along with working on his shooting range and passing skills. He has a tendency to drive through the lane with his head down, and doesn’t have the most polished footwork or body control to stop and finish complicated plays in sophisticated ways, with a pivot-move or up and under for example. Based off what we saw last night, there was really no indication either way on how good of a perimeter defender he is because of the matchups he had. Considering his terrific tools, though, and the fact that he’s clearly improving on a regular basis, Thornton will have plenty of opportunities to show scouts his value and solidify his place in the 1st round. Winning games and especially making the NCAA Tournament will be key.
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Top NBA Draft Prospects in the ACC (Part One: #1-#5)
October 11, 2006
Al Thornton may be one of the most physically gifted players in the country, but that alone won’t secure him a first round pick in the NBA draft. Thornton possesses the dreaded tweener label, though he made some great strides to shed it last season, and could very well continue down that path this season.
Thornton was Florida State’s go-to guy last season, scoring 16.1 points and grabbing 6.9 rebounds per game, and his role expects to expand even more this season, as he will hopefully continue to show more skills scouts look for in a potential small forward. Thornton, at 6’8 and 208 pounds without broad shoulders, is unlikely to play much power forward in the NBA, unless its in a Shawn Marion or Boris Diaw type role. Developing a full perimeter skill-set will be very important to where he is drafted and how successful he is in the NBA.
The good thing about Thornton’s game is that he may be further along than many think. Beyond his freakish athleticism, he very rarely plays with his back to the basket, and if he does, it’s often on the baseline, not in the low-post. The majority of his scoring comes off of offensive rebounding and attacking the rim, two things he does well enough for a small forward in the NBA. In terms of rebounding, Thornton is relentless attacking the glass, as he has excellent quickness to react to loose balls, gets off the floor vertically in the blink of an eye, and possesses the length to jump over his opponents and snag rebounds out of his area. He can get to rebounds from out of position, coming off of a second bounce, and very often going after his own missed shot attempts. He’s very persistent and anticipates well.
Thornton’s slashing game is pretty versatile, though has room for improvement in nearly all areas. He can pull up or take it to the basket, drive left or right, and has shown flashes of spin moves and up-and-unders to get open for a shot. He tends to pull up more often than take it all the way to the hole, and his results in doing so are inconsistent. At times he can shoot it over the defender with his long arms and high release point or just get open for the shot, but he could still work to make this strength even more consistent, and really take his dribble-drive game to the next level. One thing that is imperative to him is protecting his dribble better by keeping his dribble lower to the ground and learning to use his body to better shield the ball from defenders. Decision-making also plays a role here, as Thornton has shown tendencies to force it head-first into multiple defenders.
Thornton is excellent getting into the lane without the ball, recognizing space well, understanding how to get open, and always calling for the ball when he does. He has hands and a pretty good touch around the basket.
The main area many will look for more consistent production from Thornton in is his outside shot. Thornton shot a very impressive .476 from behind the arc last season, though on a limited sample of 42 shot attempts. If Thornton can up his number of attempts a bit and keep his shooting percentage from behind the arc around 40%, it will bode very well for his potential as a small forward in the NBA. That, along with his slashing game and offensive rebounding should give him more than enough to get by as a small forward in the NBA, especially if he improves his dribble protection as alluded to above. It will be tough for Thornton to fulfill all of these goals while spending most of his time playing the 4 in college, but it’s something he should be working on even if he can’t consistently show it due to his team role. Thornton will also need to prove he can consistently show the lateral quickness to match with perimeter players in the NBA, but given his role at FSU, it will be tough for him to show this during the college season. This may be something that won’t be fully determined until he works out for NBA teams. In the meantime, winning games and getting his team to the NCAA tournament should be considered a big priority for him, as he’s still yet to make it there during his college career. As we saw in last year’s draft, the overwhelming majority of college players drafted in the first round did make the tournament in their last year of eligibility, so this is something that is very important for him.
Thornton, who will be 23 years old in December, is older than your typical college senior. He was a late bloomer in basketball, though, so his age shouldn’t mean much in terms of projecting future development. He reminds of a cross between James Posey at Xavier and Hakim Warrick in his Syracuse days.
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