Southwest Notes: Thornton, Matthews, Grizzlies

Marcus Thornton signed with the Rockets this summer knowing that he wasn’t assured a spot in the rotation, much less a starting job, but he felt as though the team was a strong match for his skills and was willing to bet he could boost his value on a one-year deal, as Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle examines.  Coach Kevin McHale elected to go small and promote Thornton to the starting five after the team’s first two games, Feigen notes, a move that’s paid dividends, since Thornton has been the team’s second leading scorer so far.

“It’s been great,” Thornton said. “It’s been a long time since I’ve been in an offense with coaches that have the ultimate confidence in you. When a coach has the ultimate confidence in you, it’s easy to go out there and play, let the chips fall where they may. If you mess up, get back, get it again. It’s great when you have guys that share the ball, too. It’s fun.”

See more from the Southwest Division:

  • Agent Jeff Austin thought six teams would aggressively court Wesley Matthews in free agency this past summer if he were healthy, but only two went hard after him, according to TNT’s David Aldridge, who writes in his Morning Tip column for One was the Mavericks, who reportedly wound up lifting the value of their deal with Matthews from $57MM to the max of about $70MM after DeAndre Jordan reneged on his decision to sign with Dallas. Both the Raptors and Kings were apparently talking to Matthews before he agreed to join the Mavs, so it’s unclear which of them went farther than the other.
  • The Grizzlies have no shortage of issues, but poor performances and a lack of cohesion from Marc Gasol, Mike Conley and coach Dave Joerger are far and away the most troublesome, opines Chris Herrington of The Commercial Appeal.
  • The Pelicans don’t have a lot of assets to trade, aside from their future draft picks, but even amid a bleak outlook for this season thanks to their injury-hit 0-6 start, their future remains bright, SB Nation’s Tom Ziller believes. That said, New Orleans is the only NBA team without a rookie, as we pointed out.
  • We rounded up news on the Spurs earlier today.

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