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Pacers Draft Prospects: Sindarius Thornwell

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Sindarius Thornwell is one of the oldest players in the draft. At almost 23 years old, he may also be one of the most ready.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-East Regional-South Carolina vs Baylor Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

“I’m not a lottery pick, but I feel like I’m a lottery player,” said Sindarius Thornwell on his draft stock.

Is that a stretch? Maybe.

South Carolina SG Sindarius Thornwell previously worked out with the Indiana Pacers. The 22-year-old senior is projected to be drafted in the second round by most mock drafts, where the Pacers hold the 47th overall pick.

The 6’5” 212 lb. SEC Player of the Year led the Gamecocks to the Final Four in his senior season while averaging 21.4 points, 7.1 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 2.1 steals, and 2.5 turnovers in 34.4 minutes per game according to Sports Reference.

The versatile wing can do it all, and he was ranked as the second best shooting guard by CBS Sports just two weeks ago.

Still a stretch? Maybe.

So why do most mock drafts believe he is a second round player?

Two reasons: age and school.

Thornwell is one of the oldest players in the draft at almost 23 years old. He may not have as much upside as some of the younger players, but he’s also much less risky. NBA teams know what they’re getting in Sindarius Thornwell, and the senior is a draft prospect that can come in and contribute from day one.

South Carolina is also not the most relevant basketball school. The last South Carolina player to be drafted was Renaldo Balkman in 2006. This year, however, South Carolina may have two players who get drafted. Thornwell and teammate P.J. Dozier are both on the most popular draft boards.

While Thornwell is likely a second round pick, there is plenty to love about the versatile wing.

For one, you have to love his confidence. In a loaded draft class, Thornwell believes he is one of the top players. In my opinion, he is one of the best two-way players in the draft. I believe he can earn time on the court immediately due to his offensive and defensive abilities.

Thornwell can score in a multitude of ways. He is able to get to the basket off the dribble, post-up smaller defenders, and shoot from the perimeter.

He is extremely efficient on the offensive end as he posted a true shooting percentage (measure of shooting percentage that includes 2-point field goals, 3-point field goals, and free throws) of 59.1%. He also converted 39.5% of this three point attempts last year at a volume of 4.7 attempts per game.

Thornwell also excels in getting to the free throw line. He averaged 8.4 free throw attempts per game last season.

The highlight video below showcases Thornwell’s scoring abilities.

Not only can the shooting guard score, he is an elite defender. In his game against Duke in the NCAA Tournament, Thornwell held talented scorer Luke Kennard to just 11 points.

Furthermore, Thornwell can guard multiple positions. At 6’5” and 212 lbs., the senior played shooting guard, small forward, and power forward this past season at South Carolina. He also led the SEC in steals (66) and averaged the 17th most steals per game in the NCAA.

Although Thornwell could do it all in college, his first step lacks explosiveness. Many scouts believe Thornwell will need to continue improving his perimeter shooting because he may not be able to get past quicker athletes in the NBA off the bounce.

Is the lottery player comment still a stretch? Maybe.

Does Thornwell provide good value as a potential second round pick? Definitely.

If the versatile wing drops to the Pacers 47th pick overall, Sindarius Thornwell would be a steal.