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William & Mary alumnus Marcus Thornton started his NBA career Monday night as the Boston Celtics began Summer League play in Salt Lake City, Utah, against the host Utah Jazz.
Summer League competition is the first chance for NBA rookies, bench players and unsigned free agents to play against each other in a competitive setting.
Thornton saw limited acting during Boston’s 100-82 defeat against Utah. He played 5 minutes, 4 seconds during the 40-minute game.
In his roughly five minutes of action, Thornton managed to take and miss one shot during the second quarter. He also finished with a +/- ratio – a stat that indicates a team’s points with a given player on the court – of -5.
The slow start to Thornton’s career puts his hopes of playing in the NBA this season in jeopardy.
For Thornton, a second-round selection for the Celtics, performing well in Summer League play will be key if he wants to stay on the roster heading into training camp, which usually begins in September.
As a second-round pick without a signed contract, Thornton could spend next season in the NBA Development League or playing overseas if the Celtics do not consider him an important part of the team heading into the next year.
Thornton, an Associated Press All-American honorable mention and William & Mary’s all-time leading scorer, will get his next shot at impressing the Boston Celtics coaching staff Tuesday as the Celtics take on the Philadelphia 76ers at 7 p.m.
The Celtics will finish their Utah Summer League stint at 7 p.m. Thursday against the San Antonio Spurs.
After the conclusion of Utah Summer League play, the Celtics will move on to play in the Las Vegas Summer League, which will run July 11 to 14.
During their Las Vegas stint, the Celtics will take on the Portland Trailblazers at 8 p.m. Saturday, the Philadelphia 76ers at 10:30 p.m. Sunday and the Miami Heat at 7 p.m. July 14.