March 4, 2011

Thornton?! Wild! Er...

The signing of Al Thornton, coming immediately on the heels of his being bought out by Washington, has been a polarizing one in the wilds of Warrior Nation. Two types of reaction have predominated:

1) "Al Thornton? Nice! He's a former lottery pick, and the dude can score. We just got an NBA starter for nothing. Great signing."

2) "Al Thornton? Gross! All he can do is score, and he can't even do that well. Why grab this clown when you can go for real upside in the D-League? Shit signing."

We Worriers place ourselves unequivocally in the latter camp. Thornton is an ineffective player, and at age 27, he's not likely to become effective all of a sudden; another offense-first player ain't exactly what the doctor ordered; a gamble on a D-Leaguer would've made far more sense. This was a poor signing.

However, comparisons to the pickups of the Azubuikes and Reggies of the world are premature, for one simple reason: those guys were brought in to play, at moments where the Warriors badly needed someone to swoop right into the rotation. In this situation, the guy Thornton will be backing up is fourth in the NBA in minutes played. The starter at the other position Thornton could conceivably fill leads the NBA in minutes played. And the main backup to those two positions is playing the best basketball of any Warrior. If you're worried about Al Thornton coming in and playing a lot of low-quality minutes, you can stop worrying... there's no room at this inn. From the looks of it, he was acquired for emergency purposes only.

That doesn't make it a defensible signing. The shiniest D-Leaguer on the tree still would've been a better choice, and Lord knows if Matt Steinmetz's theory is correct -- that the front office sees Thornton as Reggie's replacement for next season -- we'll cry bloody murder as loudly as anyone. But in all likelihood, Al Thornton won't play 150 minutes in a Warrior uniform. Unless and until he does, his acquisition is better described as "pointless" than "disastrous".


GovernorStephCurry said...

I like Reggie a lot Owen, but I don't think he's the best player on the Warriors. Maybe 2nd or 3rd.

Owen said...

Sorry if I was unclear... I don't either. I would've rather seen the FO go to the D-League well for *another* guy, is what I meant.

I do think Reggie's an asset, though, and while the Dubs shouldn't match just any offer for him, they shouldn't blithely let him walk, the way they did with CJ and Morrow. It'll be an interesting summer subplot, assuming there's a summer.