Against his former team, the Sacramento Kings, on Sunday night, Brooklyn Nets reserve guard Marcus Thornton came up big after Paul Pierce left with a shoulder injury. The guard played 28 minutes for the Nets and put up 27 points, three rebounds, one assist and two steals while hitting 11 of his 15 attempts from the floor and five of his eight three-point attempts.
Thornton’s offense helped guide Brooklyn over the Kings by a score of 104-89 with the help of a strong effort from Joe Johnson. Thornton had been a near non-factor this season in Sacramento before being traded to the Nets, but he’s shown real life on a number of occasions for the Nets in the seven games that he’s played.
Thornton has scored 20-or-more points in three of his seven appearances with Brooklyn, shooting over 61 percent in all three games and shooting a combined 13-20 from three over those three contests. Not surprisingly, the Nets were able to come away with victories in those three games.
Ever the picture of inconsistency, though, Thornton has also put up some stinkers since coming to Brooklyn. In the other four games that he’s played, Thornton is averaging only 6.5 points per game while shooting just a combined 9-34 from the field and 1-18 from three over those four games.
Thornton has never been and is never going to be a player that you can rely on for night-in, night-out scoring production. However, he’s been exactly what Brooklyn has needed since coming over. As the team makes a push for the 2014 NBA Playoffs, the Nets need someone on their bench who can pick up their offense on night’s when the older guys are resting or when their offense just isn’t clicking; that’s exactly what he has been, too.
It’s easy to look at Thornton’s overall body of work and kind of brush him off as an inconsistent gunner. Looking further into it, though, Thornton is a valuable addition to the Nets and, as they head towards the postseason, could play a major role in their positioning and how the perform in the playoffs.