With all the talk being around the Los Angeles Lakers during their opening game in Las Vegas, the man who took over the game in the 4th quarter and overtime was not a top 10 or a top 40 pick in this past NBA draft. It was South Carolina’s Sindarius Thornwell.
The 48th pick in the draft had 26 points (7 in overtime) on 6 of 13 shooting and went 14 of 18 from the free throw line. He was also the only person to score for the Clippers in overtime. He showed that he could score against summer league talent, but is this type of performance enough to get him a roster spot for the 2017-2018 season?
The simple answer to this question is yes. With JJ Reddick heading to the 76ers and the only true shooting guards they have on the team are Lou Williams and DeAndre Liggins, Thronwell could easily slip into a 3rd SG role/ 11th man in the rotation and a defensive specialist in certain situations. He will be a 22-year-old rookie and spent 4 years leading a South Carolina team from the bottom of the SEC to the Final Four. He has proven that he can a leader on the court. The Clippers traded some cash considerations for him so they believe he has the talent to play in the league.
The only negative to Thronwell’s game is he plays a power brand of basketball as a 6’5″ shooting guard. He was able to get a lot of his points in college in the paint and at the free throw line. He is an average ball handler which means he will not be able to beat players off the dribble as often in the pros. He will also not be able to body players up like he did in the college ranks. His jump shot is spotty and he is not the most effective 3 point shooter. His biggest area of need in the NBA will be developing a consistent shooting touch, which is a teachable aspect at that level.
Yes he is an undersized player, yes he needs to work on his shooting touch, but the man can get to the rim and get to the free throw line. He is a decent passer and a great defender. He is in a great scenario with one of the best coaches in the game in Doc Rivers. He has a chance to be a contributor on both ends of the floor in the NBA, but only time will tell if he gets the opportunity for the Clippers.