As long-time readers of The Serious Tip know, I am a big Florida State Seminole basketball fan. Unfortunately, I haven't written much about them this season. This is due to two reasons: one, they aren't on TV as much as last season, and two, I am not going to as many games. So in order to bring a little FSU hoops back to The Serious Tip, I decided to follow up on the progress of ex-Seminole and NBA rookie Al Thornton. The following is an email interview with Kevin Arnovitz, head blogger at ClipperBlog.com, one of the preeminent LA Clippers blogs in the NBA blogosphere.
TST: First, did you see any of Thornton's games while he was at FSU? Opinions, if any?
KA: I grew up in Atlanta a big Tech fan. I watch a fair amount of ACC Basketball -- as much as a person living in Los Angeles can view. At FSU, his explosiveness and assertiveness in the halfcourt was impressive. He was one of the better creators in the conference.
TST: What did you think when your Clippers drafted him?
KA: I was pleased. The Clippers, with the exception of Maggette, weren't a terribly athletic team coming into the season.
TST: What role is Al Thornton currently filling with the Clippers?
KA: It's odd. With Maggette at the 3, [Head Coach Mike] Dunleavy is using Thornton at the 4 a fair amount and I think it's a little disorienting for him -- particularly on defense.
TST: What are your opinions of his offensive skills? Defensive skills?
KA: Thornton can take most NBA 3s off the dribble and has a knack for finding the open driving lane, and has a consistent shot from 20 feet. I'm impressed with his ability to finish around the rim. He has only average passing skills, which often results in his taking low percentage shots. He's still learning NBA defensive rotations and needs a lot of polishing on that end, particularly in help situations. Thornton isn't a terrible man defender, but he makes lousy decisions at times.
TST: Have these changed at all since the season began?
KA: Yes. He's more confident and is forcing the action off the dribble. Which is good news.
TST: What do you think the future holds for Thornton on the Clippers?
KA: I suspect the Clips won't resign Maggette, which would open up the 3 spot -- his natural position -- next season. I'm fairly bullish on his potential to become a productive wing player in the league.
Thanks, Kevin. Hopefully you'll enjoy watching Thornton play as much as us Seminole fans did.
(Photo: Copyright 2008 NBAE (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images))