PLAYER: Tyler Thornton
POSITION: Point Guard
TAPE: 6-1, 185
2010-11 STATS: 1.6 ppg, 1.0 apg (.448/.839/.267)
With Kyrie Irving headed to Cleveland, the most talked about position being talked about in Durham is the point guard spot. Who will run the show? There are four legit options.
Tyler Thornton and Quinn Cook are true point guards. Austin Rivers is mote of a shooting guard, but he also works best with the ball in his hands. Also, don’t count out Seth Curry. At 6-1, he’s going to need to be a point guard at the next level, so he could play some minutes running the show.
Ideally though, the competition will come down to Thornton and Cook. Obviously Thornton has the experience. Thanks to Irving’s injury last season, Thornton got a lot more playing time than expected
Now Nolan Smith and Kyle Singler think Tornton should get the start next year. However, since you’re seeing Thornton ranked 66th, you can probably guess who I think the better option at point guard is.
Thornton is a pass happy point guard, who always has his head up, looking for the open man. That’s exactly how I would describe North Carolina’s Kendall Marshall. However, Thornton is no Marshall.
Last year, Thornton showed that he can run the offense, but he never was one to create the offense. Yes, he brought the ball down, yes he was capable of hitting a three, but he never proved to be a threat. Sure he was able to help the ball club when he was on the floor, but did he ever make any of his teammates better? I’d argue no.
On the defensive end, he impressed his all with his desire and his motor. He took charges like a man under the basket. However, he also fouled…a lot. He averaged about eight fouls/per 40 minutes. That’s way too much for a guard.
I think Thornton has the heart to accomplish a lot, I just don’t thing the talent is there yet. I’ve always said Thornton is a long-term project, someone I suspect would never start until his senior year.
Looking ahead to just next year, I suspect Thornton will start at point guard from the get-go. However, once Coach K begins to tinker with that lineup, I suspect Cooks’ talent will eventually get him into the starting lineup.
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