SERIOUS in its bid to be in contention for the PBA Commissioner’s Cup, NLEX is bringing in less than NBA veteran Al Thorton as import for the mid-season conference.
List at 6-foot-8, Thorton was the 14th overall pick during the 2007 NBA Draft by the Los Angeles Clippers.
“Actually may short list kami for imports, pero in terms of being fit in the system of coach Boyet (Fernandez), mas okay siya (Thornton) at straightforward naman siya sa contract,” NLEX team manager Ronald Dulatre told Spin.ph.
The former Florida State standout is a versatile big man who can play the three to five spots, giving the Road Warriors a deadly frontline already manned by ageless center Asi Taulava and back-up Enrico Villanueva.
“Yung hinahanp kasi namin sa team eh yung versatile, somebody who can partner with Asi sa loob and at the same time, can play center kung wala si Asi sa loob,” added Dulatre, whose team placed 10th in its maiden league conference after tallying a 4-8 record overall.
A member of the 2008 All-NBA Rookie First Team, the 31-year-old Thornton averaged career-best numbers of 16.8 points, 5.2 rebounds, and 1.8 assists with the Clippers during his second season as a pro.
After his two-year stint with the Clippers, Thornton was traded to the Washington Wizards, before bouncing to the Golden State Warriors. He later played overseas by suiting up for the Guayama Wizards in Puerto Rico and the Zhejiang Lions in the Chinese Basketball Association two years ago.
Thornton returned to the Guayama Wizards this year where he incidentally played alongside incoming KIA Motors import Peter John Ramos, the 7-foot-3 Puerto Rican big man.
Thornton and the Road Warriors leave on January 14 to participate in the 2015 Dubai Invitational Tournament in the United Arab Emirates as part of the Road Warriors’ buildup for the second conference.