NBA Comparison: Darius Johnson-Odom
Strengths: Plays the game with the patience of a veteran … However, he is also one of the quickest players on the court at all times … First step allows him to blow by the first defender quite often … Gets to the rim, has the athleticism to convert on a variety of shots around the hoop … Also displays his quickness in his ball handling … Plays the game low to the ground … Uses a low left to right crossover to get into the lane … Often played in pick and roll situations … Good at splitting the two defenders in a pick and roll … Not easily shaken by pressure, can break a press off the dribble and through the pass … Moves well off the ball as well … Adept at setting up his defender before running them into screens … Knows how to get himself open on cuts … Has the ability to get nice hang time when finishing in the paint … Can also convert through contact and at times in traffic … Good at avoiding help defenders looking to take a charge … Can change speeds effortlessly, very natural and fluid athlete … Solid weak side defender … Contests shots and covers ground quickly … Capable of recovering when beat off the dribble … Logged huge minutes, seems to be a very hard worker and was in great condition throughout the draft process
Weaknesses: At just 177 lbs, he is very thin and frail at this time, very small for his more natural SG position … Will be susceptible to being posted up by bigger guards … Has a hard time of fighting over and through screens do to his lack of strength … Often gets caught out of stance on the defensive end … Jumps too much when trying to close out on shooters … His jump shot can best be described as inconsistent right now … Has a funky form and release, which leads him to hold the ball too long on some attempts … Shot usually looks different with each jumper, should gain more consistency mechanically … Turnover prone as he is easily pushed off the ball when dribbling and can get out of control at times … Noticeably frustrated whenever his shot is not falling … Needs to strengthen his left hand as he is more comfortable attacking and finishing on the right side of the court … Was never really a true PG, lacks size for a SG … As athletic as he tested at the combine, he does not necessarily use this to his advantage due to his lack of strength … Did not play against players near his level that often, could be very difficult to adjust to playing NBA players on a nightly basis
Notes: 2014-15 CAA Player of the Year, with averages of 20 ppg, 2.8 rpg and 2.9 apg, while shooting 102-254 3PT (40.2%) … 2014-15 AP All-American Honorable Mention … Three-time First-Team NABC All-District 10 (2012-15) … Two-time First Team All-CAA (2013-14, 2014-15) … 2011-12 CAA All-Rookie Team … William & Mary’s all-time leading scorer with 2,178 points (17.1 ppg) … William & Mary record holder for three pointers made (325), while shooting 40.2% 3PT for his career … Thornton’s No. 3 was retired by William & Mary
Overall: Thornton is a smaller player; he measured 6’1.75" without shoes and 6’2.75" with shoes at the 2015 NBA Draft Combine. However, he has nice length, with an impressive 6’7.75" wingspan. Played at a smaller school (William & Mary) and was the team’s go-to scorer his final two years. If Thornton is able to add weight to his frame and get a more consistent jump shot, he might fight to gain a roster spot due to his high level athleticism and shooting acumen. His athleticism and shiftiness will help him against bigger and stronger defenders, but must continue to work on and round his game if he wants to remain in the league. The hope is that with his top flight athletic tools, some refinement in skill set and playing with a higher level of talent, he could turn into a change of pace, energy back-up PG.
Brandon Jefferson 6/28/2015