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It Doesn’t Matter Who Starts, Only Who Finishes

Published: January 13, 2011

After Marco Belinelli tweaked his ankle in last night’s win against he Orlando Magic (status still uncertain for Friday), 32,476 Hornets fans all had the same idea. “Now Marcus can start!”, everyone thought. Now I’m not saying that he shouldn’t start, or that it’s unfair if he doesn’t, or even that he deserves to start, but let’s make one thing clear- It doesn’t matter. Not one bit.

Who cares who plays the first six minutes of the first half? I can’t think of less important minutes in the entire game. What’s the use in having your best players on the court for that period of time if it means that you can’t maximize the individual strengths of the players later on? A team’s best lineup is not the one that it trots out when the game starts, but that which is still on the floor when the final buzzer sounds, or more specifically, in clutch time.

As we’ve discussed before, clutch statistics are accumulated during the fourth quarter or overtime with less than five minutes left, with neither team ahead by more than five

The NBA is full of guys who don’t typically start, but are always found on the floor when it matters most. Jason Terry (9 starts, 100% of clutch minutes), Jamal Crawford (0 starts, 77% of clutch minutes), Ben Gordon (13 starts, 55% of clutch minutes) are the first to come to my mind. Every year there are a dozen guys who don’t start games, but still finish them.

Most teams have six or seven guys that they rotate at the end of games depending on the situation and specific match ups. Right now for the Hornets those guys are Chris Paul (100% of clutch minutes), David West (95%), Trevor Ariza (82%), Emeka Okafor (78%), Marco Belinelli (74%), and Willie Green (33%). Jason Smith (11%), Jarret Jack (10%) and Marcus Thornton (5%) aren’t quite what I would call clutch time regulars quite yet, but we’ve seen all of them thrown in there at the end when Monty calls their number.

Buckets has shown that given the opportunity and a green light, he can be a key player on this team. It’s up to him to become more consistent, because if he does, the opportunities to contribute when it matter more will surely increase. So when we are looking at how much play Monty gives Marcus, or their coach-player relationship in general, remember that it doesn’t matter at all if Marcus starts games. It matters if he finishes them.


  1. 42

    January 13, 2011 at 1:13 pm


  2. Mark

    January 13, 2011 at 1:28 pm

    Do players get a higher pay-incentive with starter-status? I know there’s a better line-up when it’s starters and the chance for more minutes, but I’ve always wondered why some players wouldn’t give up their ego for bench status. Especially if they’re going to get Jet/Ginobili minutes (i.e. sixth man with starter minutes).

    • Joe Gerrity

      January 13, 2011 at 1:36 pm

      Interesting question. I’ve never seen any data about it, but I’ll ask around.

    • Ryan Schwan

      January 13, 2011 at 1:46 pm

      I have heard of both types of incentives being included in contracts. Incentives for number of games as a starter – and incentives for total minutes played or games played.

      Those are uncommon – but both Belinelli and Thornton are currently on rookie contracts, and those clauses are almost never part of rookie contracts.

      What does “almost never” mean? There was a big flap this summer when the Grizzlies offered Henry a contract with those types of incentives. The NBA Front Office suggested the Grizz remove them because they were so unusual.

      • Joe Gerrity

        January 13, 2011 at 1:49 pm

        I think he meant to ask if players typically earn more money in a second or third contract if they have been starting as opposed to if they were a 6th man.

      • Mark

        January 13, 2011 at 8:01 pm

        Well truthfully I’ve never understood most clauses with players (I’ll just wait until the next lockout), but that explanation makes sense. I mean, being an All*Star/slam dunk/3 point/playoffs/etc. participant all has some financial incentives (Tyrus Thomas got in a little trouble speaking his truth in regards), so it’d be natural they’d offer more for “better” players.

        Joe: I actually meant the contract itself, but I’m interested to see if you’re able to dig up anything on that. I would assume starter minutes wouldn’t affect the contract itself, but give you a more comprehensive statistical history for scouting. But the more knowledge you share, the less inept we’ll sound! heh heh

  3. Michael McNamara

    January 13, 2011 at 2:05 pm

    It is an easy question to answer:

    Who got a bigger contract:

    Dhantay Jones or Ben Gordon?
    Barbosa or Roger Mason?

    We can do this all day- elite 6th men often get overpaid because of the perceived and/or real value. Meanwhile, starters who don’t get starters minutes dont get paid much at all. If Marcus can be consistent and prove he is a team player, he will get paid.

    A classic example is actually on our roster (but he is sitting at home)- After half of a season scoring for a poor Timberwolves team, Marcus got straight paid to be an offensive spark for Phoenix. Over 22 million dollars later, numerous teams are regretting that decision.

    Not to start anything, but I would suggest people take a look at the comparison between Marcus Banks 2nd half of 05-06 and MT5’s year last year. Not saying that they are the same guy, I am just pointing out that there are guys who can flat score but never put the other pieces together or burn bridges with teammates, coaches, etc and are never heard from again.

    How come nobody is crying for Marcus Banks? I read the argument all the time that Thornton has shown he can do it in the past- but if you make that argument, you also have to say the same for Marcus Banks and Mike James and Smush Parker and a whole bunch of other guys who scored double figures for bad teams that had nothing to lose and/or weren’t scouted as heavily as a good team is scouted.

    L_Reazy said it best- “We are all Hornets fans and are all rooting for Marcus” but I just think some people are a little too attached and only see the things they want to see. He is not “the answer”, but perhaps he can be a part of the solution.

    My $.02 is that in a best case scenario he is our CJ Miles. Rediculously inconsistent but when he shows up he SHOWS UP. Go take a peak at CJ’s game by game log this year and then come back and tell me if you agree.

    • AgentZiko

      January 13, 2011 at 2:34 pm

      Mike. I don’t think anyone has said it any better than that. Agree with both thumbs up. I’ve been on this tangent for a long time now, but I think some people are REALLY “attached and and only see the things they want to see”. (Great line).

      I think we need to open up to the bigger picture of what is necessary for us to be a GOOD TEAM.

      What are our strengths? Right now, defense.

      What are our weaknesses? Right now, depth. Especially in the front court.

      If we can’t make any moves that improve our team, then we have to try and improve what we have. And that will have to be focused in a way to improve individuals for the collective WHOLE.

      Okafor: Consistency, finishing.
      West: Passing out of the post.
      Ariza: Offensive decision making.
      Belinelli: Shot consistency. Helping CP create.
      Paul: Being more aggressive.

      Gray: Finding a way to contribute on offense.
      Smith: Finding a way to score other than jump shots.
      Pondextor: Absorbing EVERY bit of knowledge he can.
      Thornton: Defense. Offensive decision making.
      Jack: Looking to create more for teammates.

      Mbenga: Contributing in SOME way on offense.
      Green: Offensive decision making.

      • Gec

        January 13, 2011 at 7:12 pm

        You forgot our biggest weakness: few option on offense.

        In our worst losses i saw our offense simply not working at all because we are asking CP3 and DW to do ALL the work ALL the time. In these games you see other teams adjust to our pickandroll and when that happens bee’s other players simply cannot create something with consistency.

        We have to bet on Marcus because he can do that right now and can even get better on the future. If he plays like he can our whole offense opens itself in an offense that it’s a lot harder to stop. And it’s about time that someone drives and kick TO Chris Paul so he can get SOME EASY SHOTS!

      • AgentZiko

        January 13, 2011 at 9:01 pm

        You’re saying Marcus Thornton is going to set up Chris Paul?

        Hm. Something just seems wrong with that.

        Once again Mike, some people are REALLY “attached and and only see the things they want to see”. (Great line).


        I cannot believe you guys put so much value into someone in such a way. When will you understand that it’s when we played as a TEAM we did the best. The 12-1 record showed that. The game last night showed that. Yes, Marcus played well in that game. But we have had plenty of other wins where Marcus had a DNP, yet we still won, did we not?

        I’m gonna go the 42 route… Bring me some numbers to say that when Marcus Thornton is in the game, we are a better overall team.

      • 42

        January 13, 2011 at 10:54 pm

        Since we are going to talk numbers, I have say it’s 11-1, not 12-1. The point is the same either way, but I’d like to save you the “If this number is wrong, then they all may be wrong” sort of attack later.

        Also, when you take route, it’s best to be prepared to throw out some numbers you’ve crunched, perhaps proactively.

        It’s a tough gig.

        Everyone needs a mathematician!

      • Gec

        January 13, 2011 at 11:59 pm

        When we went 11-1 when others team weren’t ready for our game and new defensive mentality.
        A good team like the spurs (wich i hope we could beat in the PO) just adjusted to our strengths on offence and they DESTROIED us in the next two meeting after our first win JUST defending 2 man and running. That’s all they did and they destroied us. I was really embarassed by those games.
        Marcus it’s not that terrible teammate as you make him. And if we can “absorb” Marcus in the team-offense we will be a better team than one with Willie Green or Belinelli completely devoted to the team (and Willie IS NOT, he takes a lot of bad shots and never passes the ball).
        I don’t “put so much value …”, i just see the POTENTIAL and skills that he has more than Marco and Willie.

        Mike’s “Great Line” it’s very much your position too. So please stop repeating that, cause that doesn’t add anything to the conversation except of flame.

        Do you really think that we should use Thornton as a towelboy?

      • AgentZiko

        January 14, 2011 at 11:45 am

        42. Are you asking me for stats, for asking for stats? LoL.

        In what aspect are you looking for? All I did was point out what each individual needs to work on.

        But here are some numbers for you regardless.

        When Marcus plays less than 15 minutes a game we are 16-10.

        When Marcus plays more than 15 minutes a game we are 7-6.

        Does that help 42?

      • 42

        January 15, 2011 at 12:02 am

        Ha. I’m not asking. I’m suggesting a course of action. Producing defensible numbers and conclusions is hard, but to avoid looking like ou are asking for a Herculean task, I think it’s good to bring something to the table for a number of reasons.

    • Ryan Schwan

      January 13, 2011 at 3:19 pm

      I challenge your assertion, and back it up with numbers:

      Marcus Banks best run: 40 games with a 14.5 PER.

      Marcus Thornton: 73 games with a 17.4 PER.

      Banks did it in his third year at age 24 after two disaster seasons, while Thornton did it as a rookie at age 22 with no disasters to his credit.

      There isn’t really a comparison of their two seasons. The only similarity is raw numbers.

    • OkiJeff

      January 13, 2011 at 5:06 pm

      Did you ever watch Marcus Banks play? Are you still going to write that?

      Mike, I really like your style of writing and respect your opinions on the game of basketball, but comparing MT5 to M. Banks is a big stretch.

      • Michael McNamara

        January 13, 2011 at 5:12 pm

        Just to be clear- I do say that I am not drawing a direct comparison, I am just saying that there are examples of similar situations on BOTH ends. All I hear about is how MT5 could possibly be an All-Star, but I never read that he also could be Marcus Banks. Acknowledge both possibilities, that’s all I’m saying.

        And I might point out, my direct comparison was CJ Miles, not Banks.

      • OkiJeff

        January 13, 2011 at 5:25 pm


        Fair enough. I see your point. So do you think so many MT5 fans are wearing blinders ’cause he is a local kid?

        I personally think he can play. But I am also personally invested because I am from Baton Rouge and a big fan of LSU.

      • m_W

        January 13, 2011 at 6:30 pm

        @Michael, the Banks thing has already been debunked, so I’ll leave that alone. But a comparison to C.J. Miles as an upper shelf is insulting. Buckets may end up only that good, but to see that as his ceiling? Crazy.

        We all watched Thornton explode on the scene as a rookie. We’ve seen flashes of it this year when given time to play. There is absolutely no evidence that he will get worse when given minutes and not just yanked in and out of games. I mean his shot, at his age, will just fall off? He won’t learn anything ever again? He won’t improve? Absurd.

        Marcus has a legitimate shot at 6th man of the year if he ever gets the minutes, and possibly an all-star if he continues to improve and starts. Those are his ceilings. Will he get there? Who knows. But I think some people see the negatives just to be contrary just as much as other people only see what they want to see.

      • Gec

        January 13, 2011 at 7:22 pm

        @Michael McNamara. Ok, noone knows what’s gonna happen. But WHY we should not bet on him for the future?
        Our other options are two players that WON’T be as good as CJ Miles!!!
        So one of them (Willie) should not be a problem to Marcus’s minutes.

      • AgentZiko

        January 13, 2011 at 9:03 pm

        LoL. Yet again, some people are REALLY “attached and and only see the things they want to see”.

        You don’t even have to try, people just seem to fall right in line to your theory. This is actually getting funny.

  4. paul

    January 13, 2011 at 2:35 pm

    Contract meetings are brutal.
    Each side brings stats that are loose and wildly misleading.
    Starting will mean nothing if the team sucked.
    There must be better power rankings and real useable numbers that truly show a player’s worth.
    As a fan, I don’t give a damn what you are paid.
    Personally, I think you are over paid to begin with so you should be playing for the love of the game every night.
    I know in Chicago, you might not have been a starter but still a city favorite and got paid millions just for appearances.
    You can end up earning more than higher paid teammates.
    The fans know who you are and what you do for them, the team and the game.
    You play hard as a bench guy and you get rewarded.

  5. Stewart Dowouis

    January 13, 2011 at 3:22 pm

    “A team’s best lineup is not the one that it trots out when the game starts, but that which is still on the floor when the final buzzer sounds…”

    Joe, you should license this quote to one of those motivational poster manufacturers.

  6. JCS

    January 13, 2011 at 3:25 pm

    Is it me or is this post is directed at Marcus Thorton STANS who want him to start? Personally I don’t care, but if he would be more efficient coming off the bench, then I think we know what Monty needs to do.

  7. Monty'sDoghouse

    January 13, 2011 at 6:06 pm

    I disagree whole heartedly for one reason and one reason only. When Marco comes back, Marcus will be once again competing with someone else for BACKUP minutes. 1/2 of less than 1/2 = not a lot of time in the NBA. For anyone that thinks that Marcus Thornton isn’t a difference maker, you are JUST AS STUBBORN AS I AM, if not more so. You continue to find reasons for him to fail when they just aren’t there when he gets consistent playing time. Monty needs to quit finding reasons not to play the kid.

    Half of you are b**ching about his performance last night. That is flat out amazing to me. We lose that game last night without him.

    Regardless, Marcus will probably have a few games to prove that Monty Williams is off his rocker and even if he drops 40 points in a win over the Rockets, it will still not be enough for the half of you and he is most certainly not our answer at Shooting Guard no matter what he does.

    ******I have a challenge to all of you Marcus haters out there******

    Last night, who would you have had take those 18 shots that Marcus took and still come out with a win? Don’t respond with “25 shots for Chris Paul” because Chris Paul has not once looked inclined to take that many this season.

    Please post shot distribution below.

    • OkiJeff

      January 13, 2011 at 6:51 pm

      Monty’sDoghouse were you BeesGivingEffort before?

      • Monty'sDoghouse

        January 13, 2011 at 7:19 pm

        Yes but my pro-Marcus dark side needed an alternate persona.

      • OkiJeff

        January 13, 2011 at 10:48 pm

        Nice! I wanna change mine to OkiThor. lol

      • 42

        January 13, 2011 at 11:37 pm

        Nice. I’m a sucker for puns, and that works on a few levels.

        Do it!

      • Monty'sDoghouse

        January 13, 2011 at 11:53 pm

        That’s beast! Speaking of superheroes, I just got DC Universe Online for the PS3. It looks pretty cool.

      • OkiThor

        January 14, 2011 at 12:20 am

        Done and done. Hopefully I don’t catch too much flack from AgentZiko now ; )

      • 42

        January 14, 2011 at 12:34 am

        Approved you.

      • AgentZiko

        January 14, 2011 at 3:44 am

        Jeff. I wouldn’t give you any flak for that. I know they’re long, but please read my ENTIRE posts before falling in line with Doghouse and thinking I’m a “Marcus hater”.

    • AgentZiko

      January 13, 2011 at 9:11 pm

      I’m actually starting to think Monty’s Doghouse is actually Marcus Thornton, coming on the site and venting for not playing. I’m gonna keep a close eye on Marcus next game while he’s on the bench to see if he’s on his phone typing comments. LoL

      Just kidding Doghouse. Couldn’t help it.

      You can say that we wouldn’t have won if it weren’t for Marcus, but I can say we wouldn’t have won without Chris Paul getting 13 assists.

      I can say we wouldn’t have won without Emeka getting 18 points and 14 rebounds and battling really really hard with Dwight Howard.

      I can say we wouldn’t have won if Trevor had an off game rather than a really solid game.

      Doghouse, some people are REALLY “attached and and only see the things they want to see”. (Great line, by Michael McNamara).

      Why don’t you try to more thoroughly understand why it is that Marcus doesn’t start? Why don’t you more thoroughly try to understand why Marcus has multiple DNP’s? Why don’t you more thoroughly try to understand why Marcus gets yanked on the court when he does something to make not only Monty, but Chris Paul, and David West throw their hands in the air in UTTER frustration?

      I’m not giving you a hard time. Marcus played well last night. He had one tough stretch that you managed to get through, but he played well. He definitely HELPED us win the game. Basketball is a TEAM sport. It takes a collective whole to win games.

      It is when you understand this, that you understand Monty, little Grasshopper.

      Haha. Couldn’t resist. And don’t put words in my mouth. I didn’t say ONE negative comment there at all.

      • Monty'sDoghouse

        January 13, 2011 at 9:35 pm

        Please stop commenting to me. Any negative comments directly? No. Dripping with sarcasm insulting my basketball IQ? Yes.

        Michael Cole would say “Vintage Ziko.”

        “Jarrett Jack would start on 20 out of 30 NBA teams.”

        That is all.

      • 42

        January 13, 2011 at 11:03 pm

        Doghouse . . . may I have your attention please . . .

      • AgentZiko

        January 14, 2011 at 2:39 am

        I’m not insulting you at all. There’s nothing wrong with disagreeing with you. Do you not disagree with me?

        You’re basically saying its completely ok for you to disagree with me, yet not ok for me to disagree with you?

        Teams Jarret Jack would NOT start for:

        Boston (Rondo)
        Chicago (Rose)
        Orlando (Nelson)
        Milwaukee (Jennings)
        Washington (Wall)
        New Jersey (Harris)

        San Antonio (Parker)
        Oklahoma City (Westbrook)
        Utah (Williams)
        Denver (Billups)
        Houston (Brooks)
        Phoenix (Nash)
        Golden State (Curry)

        Thats 13 teams.

        Teams Jack starts for and WHY

        Miami: Carlos Arroyo is terrible. Jack would INSTANTLY come in there and be the starter

        Atlanta: Bibby has gotten old. He can’t keep up with the quick guards, and the team WOULD start Teague, but he is a few years away from being a starter. Jack would start ahead of Bibby because of his defense.

        New York: I’m not buying Felton being a top PG. I think he is a product of D’Antoni’s system. Even Chris Duhon played OUT OF HIS MIND in it. Jack is a better player than Felton, and quicker, and would start ahead of Felton and be another “product of the system” that burns out towards the end of the season the way Felton will.

        Indiana: Was never that high on DC. I think he’d be a great back up, but Im not sold on him as a starter. Give the Pacers a year or two and I guarantee they’ll be looking to acquire a new PG. They never should have let Jack go.

        Charlotte: DJ Augustine in my opinion is the PERFECT back up PG. Jack would take his starting spot, and the 2 would make an AWESOME tandem.

        Philadelphia: Jrue Holiday has a bright future. But he needs a veteran to show him the ropes. Doug Collins prefers veterans, and prior to the season starting, was looking to trade Lou Williams and parts for a more established PG to bring Jrue off the bench with. Jack would start ahead of Jrue for 2 more seasons and taught him everything he knows in practice.

        Toronto: Even with Bayless there, Jack starts. No question.

        Detroit: Stuckey is terribly overrated, never developed into what people hoped, and is more of a shooting guard than a PG. Will Bynum, is a great back up PG.

        Cleveland: Byron Scott would kill for Jarrett Jack right now.

        Lakers: Derek Fisher is a great guy to have finish games as another closer. But the Lakers get KILLED by opposing PG’s to start every game. All Laker fans complain about Fisher on defense EVERY SINGLE DAY ON THE RADIO. But it’s either him or Steve Blake. Nuff Said.

        Dallas: Dallas Starts Stevenson alongside Kidd because Stevenson is their best defender against quicker guards (guys Kidd can’t chase anymore). Jack would be an upgrade over Deshaun and would take more pressure off of the aging Kidd.

        Portland: Portland is looking for a new PG. Andre Miller isn’t a good fit. Would they take Jack back so they can plug him next to Roy next season? In a heart beat they would.

        Memphis: Not buying Conley as a “Top PG”. In fact, I think he is one of the most overpaid PG’s I’ve ever seen. Absolutely terrible. Of all the PG’s I’ve seen, he is my least favorite in the league to watch.

        Clippers: They’ve been trying to trade Baron Davis for a long time now. Jack would give them PLENTY of reason to push harder since Bledsoe is a few years away from being a full time starter in this league.

        Minnesota: Luke Ridnour. Career back up PG. Jack would start here until Rubio comes.

        Sacramento: Sac town is DYING for a PG to place next to Evans. Paul Westphal’s project of making Evans his PG isn’t working. Stats showed they’re DRAMATICALLY better when Evans plays the 2. But with Udrih the only other PG on the roster, Jack would fit right in with ease.

        I could even make arguments of Jack starting in:

        Houston, since they have shopped Aaron Brooks because of his attitude clashing with Adelman.

        Washington, since Saunders likes starting 2 PG’s at a time (Hinrich, and Wall)

        Golden State, since Curry is still pretty young and suffering a sophmore slump.

        Enjoy Doghouse.

      • 42

        January 14, 2011 at 8:51 am

        If you are going to resort to counting, then maybe you are right.

        There was a guy who wrote on here for a bit who kept talking about top 5 players in the league. That in itself was fine. The issue was he had like 10 of them.

        I think you are talking practically and, perhaps, the dogpound (woof woof woof) is talking more abstractly abouy some ‘top 10’ point guard.

        People do this all the time with NFL QB’s. There are 32 starters. But there aren’t 32 “starting quality” QB’s, whatever that means. It’s not a good choice. Dilfer won a damned Lombardi so I’m a starting quality QB from my knothole.

        Maybe I’m wrong about this; just butting in marginally politely.

      • AgentZiko

        January 14, 2011 at 11:58 am

        I actually agree 42. I think with SOOO many teams, it’s natural that the quality of REALLY GOOD starting players is thinned dramatically. That goes for EVERY position. For every position, I would say that there is a solid 10 LEGIT All Star CALIBER players.

        I’m not saying Jack is an All Star BY ANY MEANS. I’m saying that the presumed “depth” of the position isn’t as deep as some might think it is, and the league is seeing a VERY strong year at the point guard position.

        When you think about it from this standpoint… Is there ANY team in the league that has a better point guard tandem than Chris Paul and Jarret Jack? I personally feel the only team that comes close is Denver with Billups and Ty Lawson.

      • jib

        January 14, 2011 at 1:17 pm

        @ziko- I agree with some points you’ve been making, but Jarrett Jack would not start over
        Bibby- even at the late stage of his career, I still think he is a better shooter than Jack and they both do not have much of a quick first step
        Augustine- I don’t see DJ moving to backup again, although the tandem could be impressive
        Felton- Felton over Jack any day of the year, not even close
        DC- same as above pretty much, darren collison is young with upside and quicker while I don’t see Jack with any upside
        Miller- I don’t think they would want Jack back, they probably want to get something better, and I don’t see him and Roy working well together either

        I see what you’re saying with the MT5 things, but I honestly have little to no adoration of Jack, even when I would watch the few games I saw with him in Toronto.

      • AgentZiko

        January 14, 2011 at 1:50 pm


        I actually don’t have much love for Jack either. I honestly preferred Bayless, and was never fond of the trade.

        Even with your disagreements, it still leaves 15 teams Jack would start for in this league. Doghouse stated that he felt Jack only starts for 4-7 teams. I just felt like there is more, and I was defending Chris Pauls statement in regards to Jarrett Jack being a starter in this league.

        P.S. Really don’t think Felton is that great dude. I really think he’s playing the way he is because of the system. Chris Duhon played amazing in that system too. I think Felton will burn out as the season wears on. I’m calling it. And Collison… Oye… I called that too.

  8. chris johnson

    January 13, 2011 at 6:24 pm

    im not saying marcus is the answer to all our woes, but how the hell is belineli worth so much more than marcus? is he a better defender? yes. but both thorton and neli are average defenders to slightly better than average. neither of them is going to win defensive player of the year anytime soon. since this is the case why not start thornton because unlike neli he can create his own shot. our team is so much more dangerous when we have another person who can create their own shot. i mean honestly!!! come on monty!!! when marco shot isnt falling his contribution to the team is non existant. when thornton shot isnt falling he still gets you boards, hustle plays, and transition opportunities. for a team that rarely gets fast break easy buckets, thornton is our best option. Also sidenote why doesnt thornton get jacks minutes at least? what is the difference? jack rarely gets assists and turns the ball over……..just saying

    • Monty'sDoghouse

      January 13, 2011 at 7:21 pm

      AHH! Thanks for mentioning the fast breaks. I forgot to add that in my post. Let’s just say Marcus’ 2 fast breaks last night are about 2 more than the team’s total breaks in the last 10 games if you don’t count Ariza’s pickpocketing prowess.

      • Gec

        January 13, 2011 at 7:29 pm

        Marcus is just a good fit in our team, lol. That’s all, his game when turnes on it’s what this team needs BADLY..

    • AgentZiko

      January 13, 2011 at 9:16 pm

      I think they both add worth to the team.

      Here’s the “worth”.

      Marco: 6’7, long, good 3 point shooter, high basketball IQ, athletic, and a VERY underrated defender. (He’s better than average, and next to Ariza, he’s our best Perimeter defender.)

      Marcus: 6’4. Dynamic scorer. Perfect body for attacking the basket. Athletic. Energetic.

      Problem? Marcus is redundant in that we have Willie Green on the roster, basically the same body type as Marcus, not as good a scorer, but a decent defender. And basically, Monty prefers Willie Green.

      If Marcus played defense the way Eric Gordon does (a guy who’s exactly like Marcus in sooo many ways but a BULLDOG on defense), Marcus would be a GREAT player for this team.

      It’s a “Team Concept”. Not a “One Man Show”.

      • sundance

        January 13, 2011 at 9:47 pm

        “Marcus: 6’4. Dynamic scorer. Perfect body for attacking the basket. Athletic. Energetic.”

        He had his way against Redick last night. I don’t know if SVG made any adjustments after Marco went down.

        Marcus isn’t redundant – there’s no one else on this team quite like him, certainly not attitude-wise. If it was Willie in OT, Redick would have defended him better.

      • sundance

        January 13, 2011 at 10:30 pm

        But I agree with you that Marcus and Marco can both be of value to this team (and I don’t mean trade value). Their different abilities at the SG spot could make for a very good tandem.

      • AgentZiko

        January 14, 2011 at 3:41 am


        I’ve stated a few times now. I’d RATHER trade Green. I just don’t think we get very much back for him.

  9. NOEngineer

    January 13, 2011 at 8:17 pm

    I thought MT5 played a good game, but not a great game. He missed 11 shots, but he rebounded well and shot free throws well. Belinelli and Green have had better games this season, but all 3 have been inconsistent so that its impossible for Monty to know which one will contribute on any given night. If his minutes were spread between Jack and Green we might have won this game in regulation by having 3 or 5 less missed shots. Or, we might have lost in regulation if they played as inefficiently as Marcus but without his energy. We’ll never know, so please stop pretending it is blindingly obvious that Marcus was the difference-maker.

    The difference-makers for the Hornets in this game were JJ Reddick, Brandon Bass, Jameer Nelson, and Hedo Turkgolu. A combined 8 of 43. Their low shooting efficiency kept us from having to pay for many of our misses. I saw some good defense by the Hornets, but nothing to justify such horrible shooting. Thanks guys!

    Great game by Emeka and CP3, poor offensive game by West.

    • Monty'sDoghouse

      January 13, 2011 at 9:27 pm


      Funny how you keep pointing to 7-18. You also forget that Marcus’ driving to the rim on Dwight TWICE resulted in easy Okafor put backs off misses because Dwight was out of position. That’s called CREATING OFFENSE. He also got treated to one of the worst offensive fouls I’ve seen called this season on his reversed And-1. Did he miss an above average share of threes and an easy dunk? Yes. Did he more than make up for it? Yes.

      What would make you think Green or Jack could carry our offensive load on an off night from David and Chris from the field?

      Show me one piece of evidence this season that they’re capable of such.

      Hell, show me one piece of evidence where Marco’s been able to take over a game. Marco has had GOOD games when the entire team is playing well and he’s had good shooting nights. He has not once taken over a game. Not once.

      Last night, we needed a third weapon on offense and we got it. Kudos to Ariza and Okafor for their spot duty efficiency also.


      • AgentZiko

        January 14, 2011 at 3:40 am

        Rather than looking at Marco as Marcus’s competitor, why not look at him as his teammate?

      • NOEngineer

        January 14, 2011 at 9:17 am

        Are you really giving Marcus credit for his missed shots that Okafor cleans up? Very creative.

        I 100% agree that the charge call was a travesty, but that doesn’t count as one of his 11 missed shots.

        As others have pointed out, this is a team game. Marcus and Willie both need to pass more often rather than using possessions to take bad shots. Marco is a team player, who doesn’t “take over the game” because his coach and team-mates don’t want him to. They want the point guard to control the game, and the shooters to play within the offense to take high quality shots or pass when the shot isn’t there. On most nights, a high quality shot is Okafor in close, David West when he is open at the foul line or posted down low, CP3 whenever he wants to, and shooting guards when they have an open 3 or make a clean cut to the basket.

        I recognize that Marcus had some good fast breaks, a nice feed to Okafor, and he made 7 field goals and some key free throws. That adds up to a G-O-O-D 34 minutes. If he had scored his 22 points on 12 shots instead of 18, and only needed 22 minutes to do it, that would be a G-R-E-A-T game. See the distinction?

  10. Michael McNamara

    January 13, 2011 at 8:44 pm

    I think we are all rooting for Thornton, but I guess I am just a little frustrated with the idea that Monty is “out to get” the guy or something like that.

    Admittedly the guy has won us at least 4 games by my count and I have to believe that there is some immaturity being displayed behind the scenes that is putting Thornton behind both Green and Belinelli.

    Here’s my question for everybody-

    Let’s say Thornton was swapped out for JR Smith today. Right here, right now.

    Everyone is healthy. How many minutes does JR play?
    I am interested in people’s opinions on this and then I will explore further.

    • Monty'sDoghouse

      January 13, 2011 at 9:12 pm

      Traded for or swapped out?

      If the latter, probably not at all. JR might have the lamest attitude in the league.

      If the former, probably 20-25 mins a game. They know how popular Marcus is and it might be the only reason MT5 is getting any playing time at all. To trade a fan favorite making only 800k a year, they’d better show what they got in return was worth it.

      • AgentZiko

        January 14, 2011 at 3:39 am

        You just said something I COMPLETELY agree with Doghouse.

        IF we traded Marcus, we would have to get someone WORTH trading Marcus for. Who do you consider him WORTH trading for?

        I’m asking you honestly, and respectfully, because I’ll try and put together a scenario to see if it’s possible.

    • nikkoewan

      January 13, 2011 at 9:12 pm

      i agree with your idea. I think there is something happening behind the scenes that makes Monty put him behind Beli, Green, and Jack. maybe his pouting. maybe his thinking too highly of himself because of last season(prompting CP3 to say that. im not saying it was not bad, it was really un called for). remember, Monty is known for developing players. a perfect example is Travis Outlaw. He was a head case so he didn’t play consistently. and then Monty continuously worked with him. Eventually he became that clutch player between 0709. I’m seeing a similar trajectory for Thornton(if he can be resigned at the same price as example Dorell Wright). I hope he becomes a bull dog on defense while being that terror on offense we all know. Then we have a big 4 to be proud of.. Paul, West, Okafor, Thornton. I know that pales in comparison to the Lakers sizeable big 4, but they can’t play their big 4 all at the same time(unless they go REALLY BIG AND SLOW making Odom a 3). Good luck to us! GEAUX HORNETS!

    • 42

      January 13, 2011 at 10:47 pm

      I don’t want Earl here. On that basis, 0 minutes unless I can use his face to test my cheese grater.

    • AgentZiko

      January 14, 2011 at 2:48 am

      Bout the same amount of minutes. It’s the defensive rotations that Monty seems to take most issue with. And the errant shots.

  11. Go Blue

    January 13, 2011 at 8:53 pm

    I agree with this for the most part. Who finishes the game is important, but I feel also it’s important who starts. A start of a game can set the tone for the rest of the game. But then again, the Hornets can start the game perfect and then fall apart after halftime.

    I don’t necessarily think Marcus is overall better than Marco. I like his hustle, but he’s seems to have to take alot of shoots to get on a roll. Both players have their ups and downs. Personally I would like Marcus as the 6th man and Marco to start. Yeah I know Marcus should have more minutes, but I don’t think Marco is taking it from him. To me Willie should NOT NOT NOT be the 6th man, maybe the 9th or 10th. If Marcus and Willie switched their avg. minutes, than I feel the team would be better overall. Willie’s defense is good, but seems to have drop since the beginning of the season. I don’t know why Monty doesn’t play him as much, I’m not coach and I won’t pretend to me one. I may not like his rotations or agree with all his decisions, but hey, at 23-16 I can’t complain that much.

    Anyhoo, while Marco is out I think Marcus should take his role. Willie is pretty useless when he’s on the floor with CP3 (and mostly any other time).

  12. Michael McNamara

    January 13, 2011 at 8:55 pm

  13. Thomas

    January 13, 2011 at 9:32 pm

    Thoughts on Marcus:

    I’m a huge MT5 fan since his days at LSU. He can absolutely light up a scoreboard and single handily take over a game with his offense. With that, he is a defensive liability so i think it’ll be tough for him to be a starter. But there is no way you can deny he deserves to be one of the first, if not THE first guy off our bench. Its almost amazing some of the games he’s had in such a short NBA career to somehow, someway find himself getting left off the active roster in games b/c the two hornets coaches (excluding bower) are defensive guys. You can’t be so locked to a system that you ignore the talents your guy does have. If it wasn’t for bower getting out the front office and showcasing the young talent he had drafted, both collison and thornton would have probably been still finding it hard to get off the pine. So hornets fans, we need to realize that Thornton could be absolutely vital to any extended playoff run this year b/c if you haven’t noticed, our offense current ranks 26th in points per game. And if there is one thing MT5 can absolutely do, its score. With that, MT5 is NOT a starter but DEFINITELY merits consideration for crunch time minutes.

  14. Monty'sDoghouse

    January 13, 2011 at 9:38 pm

    ***WAY OFF TOPIC***

    CP3 tweets: “Are the #Cavs serious rite now…74-27??”

    If there was a sliver of doubt in my mind that LBJ wasn’t pulling the strings, it is now gone.

    • Ryan Schwan

      January 14, 2011 at 9:53 am

      Really? You didn’t think the same thing when you saw that? That’s just an insane number.

  15. nikkoewan

    January 13, 2011 at 9:43 pm

    I’m done talking about Marcus. potential for all star yes. but we also said that about JR Smith. so he has the potential of being something like that too. Agree with Michael. if you acknowledge all star potential, you gotta acknowledge his potential for bust too. And the CJ Miles comparison? a little low, but right around that. Ben Gordon – Terry? I little high, but right around that. FINISH. :))

    • Monty'sDoghouse

      January 13, 2011 at 11:51 pm

      Bet JR Smith, Ben Gordon, and Jason Terry have never even sniffed a PER of 17.5 over an entire season. Marcus did it as a rookie. Again, don’t quite understand why people don’t realize we have an entire season’s body of work to judge the guy by.

      I KNOW. I KNOW. That was then. This is now. Marcus was on a 37 win team. Blah. Blah.

      Here’s the flip side though. This kid STILL managed to post a PER of 17.5 after being our primary scoring option for most of the second half of the season alongside Mr. Darren Collison.

      Here’s the list of the players who are posting a PER of 17.5 or higher at the SG position for those that think it’s a moronic, flukish, advanced stat. I know it mostly judges offensive prowess and rebounding before people start flipping out.

      Dwayne Wade
      Kobe Bryant
      Manu Ginobili
      Kevin Martin (22.67 wow)
      Eric Gordon
      Monta Ellis
      Ray Allen
      Jason Richardson
      Jamal Crawford

      You guys running your mouths would kill to have ANY ONE of those players on that list for 800 GRAND A YEAR!

      No, they don’t all play stellar defense and neither does Marcus. But I would say Marcus now plays better defense than Crawford, Martin, and Ellis (thanks to Monty Williams).

      Take those 3 out and what do you get? Marcus Thornton on the outside-looking-in of a pretty damn prestigious list.

      I’d love to see a talent like that walking out the door before we even got to see what he’s fully capable of.

      And I know you guys are salivating at the prospect of getting his $800k off the books.

      You guys need to realize that Marcus could probably get locked up for around 5 million a year (over 4-5 years) after this season assuming he finishes strong, which would be a flat steal in the long run for Monty Williams.

      Monty and Marcus (and probably more Marcus at this point to be honest) need to let bygones be bygones at this point because if Marcus can play slightly above average defense for the rest of the season, we can be one scary mo-fo in the playoffs.

      Trust me. If I got a chance to attend one of those Marcus meet n greets, I’d ask Marcus to give Monty a break and try to start things fresh. His body language around Monty is way off (I saw him and Monty butting heads during free throws vs. Orlando and wanted to cuff Marcus over the head for the way he was acting) but that doesn’t excuse Monty from the fact that we need to play the games with our best talent on the court every night come playoff time.

      • AgentZiko

        January 14, 2011 at 3:32 am

        I’m very big on TEAM basketball. It’s very important to me. I’ve always had respect for TRUE POINT GUARDS, and teams who collectively do all the things necessary to win. I’ve always focused on the TEAM, rather than the individual. Thats why I have such a fascination with Chris Paul. The ULTIMATE TEAM PLAYER.

        I have witnessed only 1 time my whole life a player SINGLE HANDEDLY winning a basketball game. And that was the night Kobe Bryant scored 81 points.

        Basketball is a TEAM sport. It takes a collective unit to win. You can say we wouldn’t have won if it weren’t for Marcus. But that doesn’t make sense to me. Because so many other guys did certain things that helped contribute to the overall win. I just don’t believe in that. You’re taking away from everything the other guys did and do.

        Now… Marcus has had some good games this season, and some bad games this season. Naturally. Every player has. We’ve seen Marcus go 8-10 against Utah for 19 points in 24 minutes. We’ve also seen Marcus go 2-11 against the Lakers for 5 points in 17 minutes. There are ups and downs. But the way you talk about him (aside from this last post where you actually acknowledge Marcus giving Monty attitude), you are talking about him as if there is no TEAM without him. As for the pedastal:

        Jason Terry now has 6 seasons in which he averaged over 17.5 PER in his 9 year career. 18.92 his first season His lowest PER being 15.51, this season. Highest being 19.37.

        Ben Gordon has 1 season above 17.5 PER in his 6 year career. Lowest PER being this year at 12.82.

        JR Smith has 1 season at above at 18.28 in his 6 year career. His lowest being 10.93 in his rookie season.

        Doghouse. I feel like you’re ignoring A LOT of my comments. I don’t want to just GET RID OF Marcus. I’ve said SOOO many times that behind CP and DWest, he is our best trading chip. The only way we could have EVER gotten a guy like Stephen Jackson, or Andre Iguodala would have been if we included Marcus.

        I’ve said SOOO many times that I’d RATHER trade Willie Green. But I don’t think we’d get very much for him, and I don’t think Monty will want to trade his favorite veteran. Willie Green is to Monty what Fisher is to Phil Jackson. A comfort zone.

        Think about it from the opposing teams standpoint. If we were trying to make a trade to appease Paul with ANY team, and we said CP and DWest are off limits. Who do you think they’d want? Marcus.

        Thats not a bash on Marcus. Thats a HUGE compliment. Marcus has some things he NEEDS to work on. Namely, shot selection and defense. It’s going to take him a few years to get that down. The problem? The Hornets don’t have a few years to wait for him if they want to keep Chris Paul. And also, it be better for Marcus if he went to a rebuilding team where he would be a good fit to start (Charlotte) and he can go out and earn a BIG contract next season.

        I KNOW you have to admit he’s DRASTICALLY under paid for what he can do. Don’t you think he deserves the opportunity to earn a big pay check? Because if he plays 10-15 minutes a game on this team, he won’t get very much more.

        Making Chris Paul happy would probably take trading for a few more players to give him some more ammo to work with. We’re not a deep team, and we don’t have a lot of talent, no matter what anyone thinks of Marcus.

        I’m asking you to be honest to this question. Would you rather have Chris Paul, or Marcus Thornton? I think answering that question would give us all a clearer picture as to why you say some of the things you have said up until now.

        I honestly feel like you try to attack individuals like Monty, Marco, Willie, and Jack to try to justify your point regarding Marcus.

        Rather than attacking individuals on OUR team, the team YOU and I, and EVERYONE HERE is crazy about, why can’t you look at it from a TEAM standpoint.

        What is best for the TEAM?

        I know you think I like to “attack Marcus”. I don’t. I know you think I’m pushing your buttons. I’m not TRYING to.

        I understand why Monty starts Marco Belinelli. I understand why he would want to mold Marcus into a player like JR Smith, Jason Terry, and Jamal Crawford. Scoring punch off the bench is deadly.

        I understand that Monty has a comfort zone with Willie Green. I don’t really agree with it. But I understand it because I’ve seen it from Phil Jackson in regards to Fisher.

        What’s more important to you Doghouse… The TEAM doing well? Or MARCUS doing well?

      • Monty'sDoghouse

        January 14, 2011 at 9:02 am

        You just don’t get it. I like Marcus due to his entertainment value. But I want to see Marcus play because we have 2 below average SG’s playing the majority of our minutes with 1 above average SG on our bench. You act like I run around promoting MT5 cause I want to see him have an amazing career. No. I want to win a playoff series this year and don’t think we have a chance in hell with Beli/Green/Jack being our 1,2,3 punch at 2 guard.

        Where are you getting all this “Beli is a team player” crap anyways? He does nothing but play average defense and shoot. He is not a distributor. He is not a rebounder. He is not a play maker. Marcus drove to the hoop 3 times and created 3 shots for Mek/Gray Wed. That’s 3 more than Belinelli all season driving and pitching.

        I’m beginning to think your Belinelli in disguise, trying to convince people you are some uber-stud. Funny thing is. I have no problems with you, Beli. You should be our backup 2 guard and Willie shouldn’t be playing.

      • 42

        January 14, 2011 at 9:16 am

        I bet you guys would be alot nicer to me if you thought I was a honeybee . . .

      • Monty'sDoghouse

        January 14, 2011 at 9:07 am

        I guess every national writer that makes fun of Monty Williams for not playing Marcus is madly in love with MT5 too.

        Amount of writers outside of 247 I’ve seen agree with Beli starting = 0.

        And to be fair, 247 is only trying to give us the debate.

      • 42

        January 14, 2011 at 9:15 am

        Doghouse: Post some links here and I’ll be happy to put them up in the news section.

        I posted on last night that is near that topic, but not right on it, actually.

      • sundance

        January 14, 2011 at 11:40 am

        “Where are you getting all this “Beli is a team player” crap anyways? … Marcus drove to the hoop 3 times and created 3 shots for Mek/Gray Wed.”


        Marcus is best with the ball in his hands; he basically needs to create a 1-on-1 situation with his defender. The problem with putting Marcus in the starting line-up is that you also have West doing the same thing. But I agree with you Marcus needs an opportunity to play.

        Beli is a team player because he continues to allow for movement of the ball on offense. He has the vision to see an open teammate. Beli was a promising prospect when he came out of Europe, but here in the NBA his talents are probably average to above-average at best. But it’s obvious Marco was coached very well from the beginning; he has an excellent understanding of the game. That’s why he CAN be a starter for a winning team and a reason why the Hornets have one of the better SLs in the league.

      • AgentZiko

        January 14, 2011 at 12:01 pm

        @42. A honeybee who loves labs and popcorn? I’d be all over it! LoL. Don’t tell my GF I said that.

      • 42

        January 15, 2011 at 12:03 am

        Me, too, Agent. Me, too.

      • AgentZiko

        January 14, 2011 at 12:04 pm

        Taken directly from ESPN via John Hollinger, your PER guy:

        + Determined scorer who likes to attack rim and has good feel around basket.

        + Average athlete with middling line-drive jumper but never turns ball over.

        + OK defender thanks to intensity and solid build, but gives up inches and speed.

        Thornton is the most controlled reckless player I’ve ever seen. He’s constantly looking to attack, but he never loses the handle. And I mean never. Thornton had miscues on only 6.1 percent of the possessions he used, the lowest rate among shooting guards and nearly the lowest in the entire league.

        Usually players with low turnover ratios are catch-and-shoot types. Thornton had the “shoot” part down, but he took 40 percent of his shots at the rim. Last season’s ridiculously low turnover rate is probably something of a fluke, but even if Thornton’s true rate is more like 8 or 9 percent of possessions, that’s still very impressive for a shot-happy rookie guard.

        Of course, one reason Thornton didn’t turn the ball over was because he never passed it. Only three guards owned a lower assist ratio; if he’s going to the basket this often, he should be getting a few assists just by sheer luck.

        Long term, his best role is probably as a sixth-man scorer; he’s a decent outside shooter (37.1 percent on 3s), but his biggest contribution is creating middling-percentage shots without turnovers. Such players are usually of more value on a second unit, where they serve to prevent less talented teammates from having to create offense. As a starter, he takes those same shots away from Chris Paul and David West.

      • AgentZiko

        January 14, 2011 at 12:22 pm


        I’ve never once said I don’t want Marcus to play. I would rather have him get Greens minutes. But I’m not the coach to make that decision. But I do understand why Marcus comes off the bench.

        You keep looking at Marco as if he’s a bad guy but he actually fits in REALLY well with the first unit because he doesn’t take away from Chris Paul or David West.

        And from an “entertainment” standpoint, I personally get frustrated watching Marcus a lot of the time. I’d RATHER see Chris Paul have the ball in his hands. But that doesn’t take away from what I think Marcus can do for this team.

        Manu Ginobili has been a 6th man for a majority of his career. In the Spurs last championship in 07, Popovich started Oberto, Duncan, Bowen, Finley, and Parker and brough Manu off the bench.

        The reason he did this was because Manu demanded the ball so much, placing him next to Duncan and Parker took away from what they contributed on the court. In the second unit, Pop allowed Manu to do as he pleased.

        Manu now starts. Reason being? Duncan’s old. He’s no longer the 1st option. Manu and Parker are. Bringing Marcus off the bench is just a strategy standpoint.

        I’m not going to argue with you about Marcus playing MORE. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. I think he SHOULD play more. I’d rather have him than Green. But there are obviously reasons unbeknown to us as to why Marcus isn’t playing more.

        All I ask is that rather than attacking our TEAM (Marco, Willie, Jack to be specific), and our coach, why not look at what Marcus is doing wrong, or could be doing right?

        That is, and has been my ONLY argument to you.

      • jib

        January 14, 2011 at 1:44 pm

        I see what Doghouse is saying in this and I see what Ziko is saying.
        Ziko is right saying in Marcus does take questionable shots now and again along with some defense that is pretty poor now and again.
        Doghouse is right in saying Marcus should have the most minutes out of the guards not named CP.
        The way I see it is Marcus’ defense isn’t A LOT worse than Green and Beli’s. It is more apparent though because Monty has him on a shorter leash imo. Also if people wanna point out say the 2-11 from MT vs the Lakers or the 7-18 he just had, we should point out all those nights where Marco was invisible, all those 1-9 (or numbers around there) that Green has shot up, the horrid percentages from Jack as well. My way of thinking is they all have terrible nights, but if all were to have good nights, who do you want out there? I’d say MT easy.

        Mt doesn’t have to start but out of all SG’s he needs the most minutes, Marco at a close second.

        Plus one thing I really like about Marcus out there is the potential fast breaks. I want to see the team being more up tempo and Marcus is the best fit at SG for that purpose.

  16. Stefan

    January 13, 2011 at 9:46 pm

    Ahh, Marcus Banks. The guy who comes to my high school in Vegas to pick fights with teenagers during pick up games. What a bum.

  17. AgentZiko

    January 14, 2011 at 12:30 pm

    Monty’s take on why hes starting Green tonight.

    Despite his clutch shooting in overtime Wednesday night that led to a victory against the surging Orlando Magic, New Orleans Hornets second-year guard Marcus Thornton won’t be in the starting lineup tonight, even if Marco Belinelli misses the game because of a sprained right ankle.

    Hornets Coach Monty Williams said backup guard Willie Green is probably a better option to start against the Houston Rockets because of his size and defensive abilities.

    “As much as I like Marcus’ scoring, he doesn’t have the size that you like at that position to start the game,” Williams said Thursday. “Willie is probably a better option with that group. I would like to keep Marcus (listed at 6 feet 4) in that role of giving us a spark off the bench.”

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