Well by now you've heard that Carl Landry has been traded to the New Orleans Hornets for Marcus Thornton and the ever popular "cash considerations". Carl has been with us for just over a year since coming to us from Houston in a deal for Kevin Martin, and while I think its safe to say that he didn't exactly live up to our expectations on the court, we as a fanbase came to appreciate him for the player, and person, that he was. So thanks for your time Carl, and best of luck in New Orleans. Tip of the Top Hat to you.
So now the Kings have Marcus Thornton. Most of you have heard of him, as he was one of the top rookies last year, filling it up in Chris Paul's absence and eventually being named to the All-Rookie 2nd team. His stats and production fell off a bit this year with Paul back and new coach Monty Williams in charge, but he was still able to find a role for the team, especially as the season wore on.
Now Marcus is on the Kings, and in all likelihood will probably be given a bigger role than in New Orleans, considering Sacramento's lack of backcourt depth, especially with Tyreke injured. What does he bring to this team?
The first thing you should know about Marcus is that he's a scorer, first and foremost, and he can be really effective when made the focal point of an offense, as he showed in his rookie year. Most of his points and shot attempts come at the rim and from the three point line, the two most efficient types of shot there is, although he doesn't connect often enough to be labeled extremely efficient, although his career 3P% of .374 is good enough to put him at third on the Kings behind the injured Francisco Garcia (.379) and Omri Casspi (.377).
When Marcus is in the game, he usually commands the ball quite a bit. His career USG% is 25.4%. For comparison, ball dominant Tyreke Evans is at 26.0%. He doesn't assist at a high rate (10.3% Assist Rate), but that's not his job. He's a decent rebounder for a guard as well, rebounding at a higher rate this year than Carl Landry (to be fair almost everyone has rebounded better this year than Carl Landry).
Thornton's biggest weakness is his defense. It's why he fell out of favor with Monty Williams and the Hornets. It's not Beno bad, but its still pretty bad. If he wants to become anything more than a solid bench scorer, its the thing he'll have to work the most on.
A big plus in trading for Marcus now is that unlike Carl, Marcus is a Restricted Free Agent, and with Tyreke Evans out, the Kings get a nice, long test run to gauge his future worth to the team. With a new CBA that will likely lower salaries, the Kings should be able to lock up Thornton for a modest price, especially as the Kings will be able to match most offers, which tends to lower interest from prospective buyers (see David Lee in the 2009 offseason for example).
For the Kings, getting a promising young guard in Thornton for Landry is a coup in my opinion. Other rumors simply had Landry going for 1st round picks. Those picks are an unknown, while Thornton is a proven commodity that shores up one of the Kings biggest weaknesses (backcourt depth). Carl, meanwhile, was almost left out in a crowded Kings frontcourt that now features DeMarcus Cousins as the main low post option. There was also the very good possibility that Landry could've walked from Sacramento for nothing by signing with another team in the offseason. New Orleans runs that risk now, and possibly just gave up Marcus Thornton for nothing.
Overall, I like this trade a lot. Welcome to Sactown, Marcus Thornton.