Looks like we have seen the last of James Singleton in a Clipper uniform , according to this article. Obviously Thornton is an upgrade for the Clippers from Singleton, but we all wished that he had more playing time with team.
In stark contrast to the Korolev pick, the Clippers selected 23-year-old Al Thornton in this year's NBA draft. Thornton has two similarities with Korolev. Both are small forwards, and both were selected in the lottery portion of the draft " Korolev at No. 12 and Thornton at No. 14.
But the similarities stop there. Thornton played four seasons at Florida State, is three years older than Korolev and already is earmarked to be in the Clippers' rotation.
"If Corey (Maggette) were to be injured, Al Thornton could step in and start for us," Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy said. "If Cuttino Mobley would be injured, we could drop Corey down to shooting guard, and Al could play small forward."
The Clippers did not address their biggest need by taking Thornton. They still need help at point guard with Sam Cassell turning 38 in November and Shaun Livingston out until at least January with multiple knee injuries.
But most mock drafts had Thornton being selected before the Clippers' No. 14 pick, and Dunleavy and general manager Elgin Baylor used the words "ecstatic" and "jubilant" to describe getting him.
"I thought I was in that seventh to 12 range," Thornton said in a call from New York. "Sometimes, you never can predict the draft. You never know. Sometimes, life throws you a curveball, and you have to roll with it."
It appeared that the Clippers could have been ready to select USC guard Nick Young, who was the only player brought in for two workouts and was selected two picks later by the Washington Wizards. Thornton never worked out with the Clippers, but that wasn't a concern. The day before the draft, Dunleavy flew to Phoenix, where the Suns let him watch Thornton work out for them.
"Stats are, of course, one area that is great," Dunleavy said. "But for me what is important is how hard he plays. Night in and night out, his energy is off the charts."
Thornton said that he has two classes left to earn his bachelor's degree in social sciences, and his age and maturity were big draws for the Clippers. The player says those qualities will help him, too.
"I think that being in school four years, being able to mature physically, mentally and socially, has prepared me," Thornton said. "I think I am ready to contribute, not just on the court, but off the court. I just cannot wait to be a Clipper."
Notes: The Clippers picked up the option for defensive stopper Quinton Ross, who will make $826,000 this season. This will be Ross' fourth NBA season, after going undrafted out SMU in 2003. The Clippers also have the option on forward James Singleton, but have not picked it up and will allow him to be an unrestricted free agent. The Clippers selected point guard Jared Jordan in the second round with the No. 45 pick. Jordan led the nation in assists the past two seasons at Marist, but will he make the squad? "That's the goal," said Neil Olshey, the Clippers' director of player personnel.