OK, so maybe the word “standout” isn’t the right word, but the former Phoenix Suns guard’s birthday, and we’re celebrating him.
Let’s take a trip in the Phoenix Suns way-back machine. We are going to be traveling back the very short distance of five years to 2015. Before you walk off in an uproar, please note that I didn’t say this would be a fun trip! 2015 was the year of the failed “three play-maker experiment” and from the dissolution of that, the Phoenix Suns acquired Marcus Thornton in a trade that sent embattled guard Isaiah Thomas to Boston.
Coming into Phoenix, Thornton was averaging a tidy 8.9 points on 41% shooting from three-point range in just over 16 minutes of playing time a night, and the hope was that he could possibly be a positive bench piece for the Suns, a bit of a spark plug that could pile points in a hurry. There wasn’t much hope for anything more than that for Marcus. He was what he was: a gunner that could come off the bench and provide some offense. Phoenix was hopeful that Thornton could continue providing those attributes for a team that had just traded away a ton of self-made shot creation.
Thornton joined a team in transition, and although he wasn’t guaranteed a future in Phoenix, he did have the opportunity to make one for himself.
So how did Marcus Thornton do in Phoenix? If I could only use three words: not very good.
In his Suns tenure, Thornton averaged a measly 3.6 points and 1.4 rebounds in nine minutes a game. He shot a ghastly 32% from the field and a horrendous 10% from 3. Yes, you read that right. 10% from 3 on two attempts per contest. It wasn’t pretty folks.
Now, in Thornton’s defense, he didn’t have an especially large sample size to prove his worth, playing only nine games, and a lot of that was sadly due to the fact that the Suns were unsure of their direction post-All-Star break. Were they contending for a playoff spot? Were they tanking for draft seeding? Ultimately they ended up doing a little of both and also a whole lot of nothing, and Thornton was one of many who suffered.
Not all was doom and gloom, Thornton did have one bright spot with Phoenix where he chipped in 14 points on 50% shooting to go along with four rebounds and two steals in a home win for Phoenix. Unfortunately, that would be Thornton’s last and only hurrah for the Suns, as he would not return the following season and would only play two more years in the NBA.
But that’s enough sad news. It is the man’s birthday after all. Happy 33rd to Marcus Thornton, and from the Valley of the Suns, this article is our present to him.