The Brooklyn Nets acquired Marcus Thornton at the 2014 NBA Trade Deadline and, at first glance, that seemed like somewhat of an inconsequential move for the team. After a month of Thornton playing with this team, though, he might have been exactly what they needed as they make their playoff-push.
On numerous occasions since coming to Brooklyn, Thornton has come off of the bench and given this Nets team a big lift offensively. The 26-year-old guard has long been known as a streaky offensive player, but that has proven to be beneficial for this team that often needs a lift from one of their reserves to stay in game.
That was the situation against the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday night and Thornton delivered when he was needed. In 24 minutes off of the bench, the guard put up 20 points and seven rebounds while shooting 7-11 from the floor and 4-7 from three. His offensive contributions were a huge reason why the Nets were able to come away with a 107-104 overtime victory.
What we’ve seen from Thornton’s brief tenure with the Nets this season all but confirms that he’s going to be important to Brooklyn’s playoff chances and how they fare down the stretch of the regular season. Looking ahead to next season, though, things get even more interesting.
Thornton will be in a contract-year next season with the Nets and, based purely on speculation, will probably be in the same role that he is right now. Considering the 12.5 points and 2.7 rebounds per game he’s put up in 14 games with Brooklyn while shooting 46.3 percent from the floor and 40.6 percent from three, it’s not out of the question to think he could be in the Sixth Man of the Year conversation next season.
Obviously we’re looking at a small sample-size this season to base this off of and it may be a bit of overreaction to say that, but it’s definitely a possibility. The Nets’ system consistently allows him to get good looks and put up numbers offensively. Given that, him playing for another contract, and the visibility of this team, don’t be surprised if his name is popping up in that conversation next season.