The Wizards bought out Al Thornton on Tuesday, and NBA Confidential's Sam Amick reports that the former lottery pick will land with the Golden State Warriors. Thornton was a Clippers' draft pick, and stuck there for about 2-1/2 years before being included in the odd Brendan Haywood-Caron Butler trade. Unsurprisingly, Thornton wasn't particularly good in Washington, just as he wasn't particularly good in Los Angeles.
Thornton's problem has always been two-fold: he's a featured scorer who is pretty bad at scoring, and he's among the worst defenders you'll ever see in the NBA. I don't write this to be cold or mean, but he's simply not very good when compared to the rest of the NBA. If he were to become good, it would be by scoring more efficiently and frequently.
And there's the problem. Even as Thornton's best, he is the exact opposite of what Golden State needs.
The Warriors have the No. 28 defense in the NBA. The team's primary small forward -- Dorell Wright and Reggie Williams -- are primarily scorers. Wright is a fine shooter who with Monta Ellis and Stephen Curry stretches the opponent's defense; Williams is similar, but is more of a microwave-type scorer who can kill you a dozen different ways when he's on. Neither is renowned for their defense, though Wright is solid (or OK at worst). Just about every other rotation player, with the exception of Ekpe Udoh (who's raw but defensively talented) and Louis Amundson, is a regular minus on defense. Ellis can defend some opponents, but his size and huge offensive role take a toll. Curry is quite solid at turnover creation, but may never be a passable defender. David Lee? Uh, no. Andris Biedrins? The rare player who (like Thornton, actually) has regressed considerably over time.
The Warriors have a bad, bad defense, and they bring in a wing off the scrap heap with a reputation for especially bad defense. Now, the risk is minimal -- there's no long-term contract being handed out, and the price tag is somewhere between "rounding error" and "Friday's lunch order." But if there's symbolism in GM Larry Riley's decision-making, it is that the Warriors really have no time for defense, now or ever.
The Udoh pick a step in the right direction, and picking up Amundson was solid. But Thornton? On this team? BUZZER SOUND.