October 13, 2009 |
Rasual Butler may have been happier about Blake Griffin's first points as a Clipper than, well, Blake Griffin. Butler was kicking back in the locker room after a preseason victory over Portland last week, and the general consensus was that a clip of the No. 1 overall draft pick's scoring had to be on ESPN since Griffin's firsts have been recorded at every turn. If not EPSN, then YouTube. Meaning plenty of Butler. After all, it was Butler's behind-the-back pass that set up Griffin's dunk in the first quarter.
November 17, 2009 |
Conventional wisdom held that a slimmer Al Thornton was supposed to be a new-and-improved Al Thornton. Instead, the Clippers' Thornton slid back a step or two after he dropped 25 pounds during the off-season, struggling with his confidence, struggling with his shot and ultimately losing his spot in the starting lineup. Apparently, you can be too thin too fast. It's fine for a supermodel, not so fine for a small forward. Thornton is showing signs of coming out of his early-season malaise.
June 29, 2007 |
Possibly preparing for life without Corey Maggette, the Clippers on Thursday selected forward Al Thornton of Florida State in the first round of the NBA draft, choosing a player they think can make an immediate impact. The Clippers focused on the present, taking Thornton with the No. 14 overall pick instead of others who might need more seasoning to become NBA-ready performers, and they also moved to protect themselves if Maggette terminates his contract after next season.
April 14, 2008 |
After a long pause, Al Thornton finally answers the question lingering in the air. "I'd have to say a C," he said. "It's pretty low. I can't grade myself any higher. Consistency is the main thing for me. I've been up and down." He may be his own harshest critic in grading his rookie year. But although he is one of the Clippers' few positives this season, his performance has been marked by flashes of explosiveness flanked by bouts of ineffectiveness.
February 13, 2008 |
The Clippers' 12-day, seven-game Grammy Awards-induced evacuation from Staples Center is now in the rearview mirror, and Al Thornton summed up the odyssey in one word. "Loooong," he said. With added words, he elaborated. "A grind," he said. The Clippers won three of seven games on their longest trip of the season, still in search of that elusive streak of winning two straight games, unseen since their first four games of the season. But they were mostly satisfied.
March 21, 2008 |
For all that has gone wrong for the Clippers -- and there has been a lot -- rookie forward Al Thornton continues to shine. His latest effort -- 24 points and career highs in rebounds (13), minutes (45) and made free throws (12) in Wednesday's loss to the Golden State Warriors -- boosted his season average to 12.0 points. That's good for a rookie year and more impressive considering he was not taken until the 14th pick. But his growth shows even more when his numbers are dissected. He averaged 6.
January 30, 2008 |
Amid the long list of questionables, there is one certainty. If the Clippers do not have the services of leading scorers Chris Kaman and Corey Maggette, who have lingering flu-like symptoms, and now Al Thornton, sick because of a stomach virus, tonight's game against Atlanta figures to be a long one. Maggette, who scored a season-high 35 points last weekend against Memphis, and Kaman both missed Monday's loss to the Charlotte Bobcats after coming home sick from the team's recent trip.
January 26, 2008 |
NEW ORLEANS -- There are hurdles stacked, but if all goes right, Al Thornton will be back here soon, playing in the rookie-sophomore game during All-Star weekend. Assistant coaches vote nine players into the game, scheduled for Feb. 15. Four must be front-court players, four back-court players and another player of any position. The ballots are due Monday.
January 5, 2008 |
The biggest difference between college basketball and the NBA, according to Clippers rookie Al Thornton? The increased homework. "The different strategies of different teams," Thornton said. "You have to prepare for something different every night. That's one of the toughest things." So, Thornton studies teams, coverages and tendencies in his effort to learn and exploit defenses.
November 18, 2007 |
Al Thornton has frequently changed his appearance in the early season -- his hair from a short afro, to cornrows, to closely cropped. He wears long socks and a headband one night and neither the next. He is also still searching for the right look on the court. The highly regarded rookie and the 14th overall draft pick has not necessarily struggled in the early going, but there have also been none of the scoring outbursts he flashed in the exhibition season.