One of the changes we’re going to see from the Sacramento Kings next season is a greater focus on defense, which might push out some less than willing participants of the makeover, with Marcus Thornton looking like a very good candidate to not fit the new scheme, and possibly get himself traded.
The Kings were the worst team last season in the NBA when it came to stopping opponents from scoring, allowing 105.1 points per game, and ranking 28th in the league in opponents field goal percentage at 47.2%. While there’s plenty of offensive talent on the team, part of the culture change in the organization and the hiring of Mike Malone to be the head coach is to start seeing some more commitment and intensity on defense.
Thornton became somewhat of a sixth man last season for the Kings, averaging 12.7 points per game on 24 minutes a night. With the drafting of Ben McLemore, who looks like one of those rookies who is going to take a long time before he adjusts to life in the NBA and especially the fact that he can’t shoot freely as he did in college, there’s a good chance Thornton won’t be getting as many minutes as before.
Why? Because with the shift to probably focusing more on defense, Thornton becomes somewhat of a very expensive liability. He isn’t brought on to guard – just like Jamal Crawford for the Clippers and throughout his NBA career, Thornton is brought on to score quick points. When that ability doesn’t live peacefully with what the team is demanding from its players, the Kings begin to look for buyers on the market.
The problem? Thornton’s big contract. He’s owed $16.5 million for the next couple of seasons, and it’s hard seeing a team commit so much money to a guy who can’t start for most of the franchises around the league. Quick scoring isn’t that hard to find, which means the Kings are probably going to have to endure Thornton’s lack of defense, or simply try and change him, because trading him this season is going to be close to impossible.