On the first day of training camp, I caught up with Sacramento Kings guard Marcus Thornton. He had just signed a lucrative four-year, $31-33 million deal to stay with the Kings after they traded for him midway through last season. If the 27-game, small sample size was any indication of what Thornton can do for the Kings going forward, the deal will end up being a bargain.
While Thornton looks ready to take on any challenge on the court, his demeanor off the court is much different. He is quiet, respectful and honest. Coming off his rookie contract, Thornton had major decisions to make this summer in regards to his future in the NBA. As a free agent, Thornton turned down multiple offers from European teams during the lockout, even with the chance of a cancelled NBA season. In the end, patience paid off for the 24-year old shooting guard out of LSU.
CK: It was fun to watch you tweeting on Friday night, the emotional response. Talk a little about that, finding out you got your new contract.
MT: It was kind of emotional. There wasn’t no boo-hooing, it was just a couple of tears of joy me and my mom shared. But it’s over with and it’s down to business now.
CK: It seems like you are very close with your mom back in Baton Rouge. Is she going to come out here with you this season?
MT: She’s here now, she’s back at the hotel now, but yeah, every chance she gets, I want her to come out here and watch us play, even though it’s a long ways from home. She’s up to speed on flying now. This was her second flight. She’s used to (it) now. She says she’s ready whenever I want to bring her out here.
CK: This is really a good chance for you to find a home and make your way in the NBA. You have a nice backcourt mate and a nice young nucleus. Talk to me a little bit about that. Sacramento is your home now.
MT: It feels good. It feels good when you can go somewhere and you feel wanted and I appreciate the Kings everyday for that. As far as the backcourt, we are young – I love it. Me, Tyreke (Evans) and Jimmer (Fredette), we can get up and down the court. We’re young and we’re going to use that to our advantage.
CK: What have you been working on this summer to get ready for the season, to improve?
MT: Everything, everything. Conditioning wise, I know this season is going to go very fast. We start up next week with preseason. I know it’s going to go very fast, so just working on my conditioning and being ready for opening night.
The Kings will rely on Thornton to fill up the basket like he did in his mini audition last season. With Evans coming to camp 100-percent healthy, the Kings are ready to push forward with one of the most explosive scoring backcourts in the NBA.