Sindarius Thornwell Could Be An Instant Contributor for the Brooklyn Nets

Sindarius Thornwell does not have a remarkable amount of upside. The senior will be 23 years old when he plays his first NBA game, and his lack of explosive athleticism puts a hard cap on his ceiling. On the other hand, he also has a very high floor; he has solidified his once-shaky jump shot, and his high effort level and basketball IQ makes it hard to believe that he will not be at least a decent end of the bench option for any NBA team.

The Ugly Duckling Has Become a Swan

It would be an understatement to say that Sindarius Thornwell was inconsistent during his first three years at South Carolina. Thornwell never even cracked 40% shooting from the floor, but even within that sample his accuracy varied dramatically. Thornwell shot 100 or more three-pointers during all four of his seasons as a Gamecock. However, he shot 37% from deep as a freshman—and just 26.8% the following year.

Thornwell appeared to be mired in a slump his entire sophomore year, as he shot only 34% from the floor. Overall, his freshman and junior years that sandwiched his miserable sophomore campaign were quite similar—Thornwell shot 38.6% as a freshman and 38.2% as a junior and averaged 13.4 points per game in both of those years. He traded more efficient three-point shooting (33.3% as a junior as opposed to his mark as a freshman) for slightly better peripheral stats—he boosted his rebounding from 4.1 per game to 4.8 per game and boosted his assists from 3.0 per game to 3.8 per game while cutting his turnovers from 3.1 per game down to 2.3 per game. Nonetheless, he was an inefficient chucker whose only real success was leading the Gamecocks to the second round of the NIT in his junior year.

Everything seemed to click for Thornwell as a senior, as his numbers jumped across the board despite only averaging 0.8 more minutes per game. Thornwell put up 21.4 points per game with 45/40/83 shooting splits. His contributions were not limited to his vastly improved scoring, however. Thornwell grabbed 7.2 rebounds per game, 2.8 assists per game, 2.1 steals per game, and a block per game en route to winning the SEC Player of the Year.

Why Brooklyn?

Sindarius Thornwell is a target for the Brooklyn Nets, as he was interviewed by Sean Marks and his staff early in the draft process:


Thornwell is currently projected to be the 56th pick by DraftExpress, one pick before Brooklyn’s second round selection via the Boston Celtics. The Nets are a prime candidate to move up in the second round, either via purchasing a pick in the 50’s or by moving their 57th pick and some other asset to jump up in the draft order.

On the surface, it seems as if Sindarius Thornwell would be superfluous for the Nets. They already have two young combo guards in Caris LeVert and Isaiah Whitehead that need playing and development time, and the re-signing of Archie Goodwin further complicates their guard rotation. All of those machinations do not even factor in the non-guaranteed contracts of Sean Kilpatrick, Joe Harris, and Spencer Dinwiddie.