Nov 6, 2015; Sacramento, CA, USA; Houston Rockets guard Marcus Thornton (10) drives in against Sacramento Kings forward Rudy Gay (8) during the first quarter at Sleep Train Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
Small Forward: Lance Stephenson- vs Marcus Thornton
Whether he’s blowing in your ear or hanging out with fans and owners instead of his teammates Stephenson is one interesting dude. Many pundits assumed his next step up was inevitable when he left Indy for Charlotte, but the opposite occurred with him taking a major step backward. There is no denying his creativity or ability to raise the level of a game when he’s on. The problem is for as many times as he’ll awe you with his out of the box creativity he can equally frustrate you with his poor decisions and even take his team out of a game.
Recognizing 5 games is a small sample size this stat may be irrelevant over the long term however it’s interesting to note while Stepheson’s 2-point percentage is the lowest of since his rookie season (38.9%) his 3-point shooting is the best of his career at 44.4%. Additionally, (again recognizing the small sample size) his intangibles are lower across the board. This is note worthy given he’s playing beside an upgrade in talent so his assists should be headed north not south.
Thornton for his part is the revelation of the early season for the Rockets. It’s not just his accuracy scoring it’s his passing and team play which are standing out. His 16.8 scoring average is the second highest of his career, he’s rebounding (4.8), assists (2.0) and 3-point shooting (43.4%) are all career highs! Suffice to say Thornton is the best value for the dollar through the early season.
Edge: Marcus Thornton veteran consistency wins out over enigmatic questions every time. Thornton has found the perfect home for his skill set and it’s paying off in spades for him and his team. Read Joshua Van Horn’s article on Thornton’s natural fit with his new team and early success.
Next: Powering Forward