FanShot

ESPN's Five Emerging Stars to Watch

15

Marcus Thornton, SG, Sacramento Kings, PER:18.06 Thornton's breakout was foretold when his scoring average rocketed 13.5 points over the final 27 games of last season, after he was traded from New Orleans to Sacramento, but in his first season as a full-time starter Thornton has established himself as one of the league's most consistent scorers with a career-best 18.6 points per game. He won't win many accolades for playmaking and will probably never be a lockdown defender, but he was never advertised as such. Thornton's prime objective is to score the basketball. And he does that very well. By far the least recognizable name in the top 30 in scoring, Thornton ranks fifth among shooting guards in scoring and has more 27-point games (six) than bucket-fillers Danny Granger (two) and Rudy Gay (one). One of his most dangerous weapons is the catch-and-shoot from the elbow or short corner -- usually after ball reversal -- which he can get off with an alarmingly quick release. But his bread and butter is creating pull-ups or getting to the basket off the dribble, which is why he doesn't need to rely on quality point guard play to get him good looks. Most of his attempts come from behind the arc (fifth in the league at 6.2 attempts per game) or at the rim, but he's actually shooting better on long 2s than feared marksmen Carmelo Anthony and Ray Allen. Other 4: Ty Lawson, Paul George, Greg Monroe, Nikola Pekovioc

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