Dear World, Meet Marcus Thornton

Published: March 6, 2010

Apologies to those of you who already know all about the extremely talented Marcus “Buckets” Thornton.

For the rest- It’s odd that a second round pick having one of the best seasons in a stacked class is going relatively unnoticed. Even after his franchise record setting performance against the Cleveland Cavaliers, most fans still don’t realize how special Thornton is.

How do I know this? Down here in the bayou, we are accustomed to being told what Hornets’ players and management are thinking, especially by people who know very little about the players and the organization. It’s really not that cool, considering the amount of time a few of us have to put into dispelling such myths, but on the bright side, it’s an effective way of determining when a player has gone global. Hornets fans know that as soon as any player is recognized by outsiders to be a real talent, speculation will begin that they will be traded away.

Just look at Darren Collison. Halfway into the first year of a dirt-cheap rookie contract fans all over the map are already planning his departure. Other Hornets constantly “on the block” according to fan and some media speculation are David West and Chris Paul. Note that these aren’t the players that ever wind up being dealt, but are always the main guys involved in theoretical trade scenarios. Plain and simply put, this occurs because they are the best players on the team, and other fans want them.

So NBA, if you haven’t heard of the rookie from LSU, get used to saying the name Marcus Thornton. While you’re at it, adjust to using the term “Buckets” to refer to a person instead of a basket. Well, on second thought, you might just want to keep associating “Buckets” with scoring, because the second round pick out of LSU just keeps putting points on the board.

In fact, he’s doing so at a rate unsurpassed this millennium, by second round guards at least. After sifting through hundreds of rookie season, it’s clear that no other second round guard picked in the last decade compares favorably in scoring. Really, nobody even comes close. Among guards, the best overall second round picks have been Michael Redd, Gilbert Arenas, Mo Williams and Monta Ellis, but their actual rookie seasons are blown out of the water by Marcus.

This millennium, the best rookie season scoring by a second round guard was had by Mario Chalmers of the Miami Heat. Last year he managed to average 10 points on 42% shooting (37% from three) in 32 minutes per game.

For the season, Marcus is averaging 13 points on 45% shooting (40% from three) in only 23 minutes per game. I didn’t go all the way back into the 1900’s, but of notable second round guard picks that came to mind, none put points on the board quite like Marcus has*.

*Players who stayed overseas after being drafted were not included.

By now you might be saying “So what? There are plenty of first round picks just as young as he is, who are having much better seasons.” If that’s the case, then check out this nifty chart below to see how the 45th pick in the draft compares with a few better known lottery selections.


Player Points per 48 Points per shot Shooting percentage Three point percentage
Marcus Thornton 26.6 1.19 44.6 40.3

Tyreke Evans

26.3 1.26 45.9 24.5
Brandon Jennings 23.0 1.02 36.6 37.5
Jonny Flynn 22.7 1.14 42.0 35.0
Stephen Curry 21.1 1.20 45.6 40.9
Thornton’s overall NBA rank 17th 83rd 89th 17th
Thornton’s rank among SG’s 6th 14th 13th 5th


As you can see, Tyreke Evans is having the best scoring year by a rookie guard, or any rookie for that matter. Marcus and Stephen Curry both seem pretty even at the number two spot. Couple that with Thornton’s spectacular numbers compared to other veteran shooting guards and it’s clear the rookie is something special.

The last time he played 20+ minutes and didn’t score at least 10 points was on January eighth. Since then he’s scored 425 points on only 334 shots (1.27 per shot). 

In case you are a little put off by tables and rankings, I’ll leave you with a video of his finer moments.





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