NBA News: Al Thornton Will Help Golden State Warriors Make Playoff Push

Max HollanderContributor IMarch 4, 2011

WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 18:  Al Thornton #14 of the Washington Wizards  handles the ball against the Miami Heat at the Verizon Center on December 18, 2010 in Washington, DC. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.   (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)
Greg Fiume/Getty Images

The NBA has seen some interesting trades take place in the past few weeks that have helped some, while leaving others with less than stellar rosters.

From Carmelo Anthony to the New York Knicks, Deron Williams to the New Jersey Nets, Kendrick Perkins to the Oklahoma City Thunder and Gerald Wallace to the Portland Trailblazers, it has been a trading frenzy this season.

Needless to say, several NBA teams added top talent to make a serious playoff push.

For the Golden State Warriors, it wasn't looking great for a playoff run with the way the West was. Now, with Deron Williams off the Jazz and Carmelo gone from the Nuggets, the Warriors' outlook is brighter.

Unfortunately, they didn't make a major move to get a top player, but they did add Al Thornton for depth and offensive production. 

Thornton was picked up by the Warriors after he was released from the Washington Wizards about a week ago. The 27 year-old Thornton played in 49 games for the Wizards averaging 8.0 points, 3.2 rebounds, and 21 minutes.

Thornton, another tall player at 6'8", is always useful, and especially for the Warriors, who lack a dominating big man. 

The Warriors haven't been to the playoffs since their surprising first-round upset of the Dallas Mavericks that was followed by a 4-1 series loss to the Jazz.

The problem for them has always been not having a presence in the paint, and, hopefully, Thornton can help them on that front. Thornton was a first-round pick by the Clippers in 2007, and was expected to be a high-scoring, high-rebounding big man. If he can be that player, the Warriors would have a much stronger chance of sneaking into the eighth slot.

For the Warriors to make the playoffs, several key factors need to fall into place.

Stephen Curry and Monta Ellis need to keep up their 25 point per game averages, Darrell Wright needs to knock down three-pointers all night, and the bench players coming in must hang with the other team's starters.

If Golden State finds a way to do this, the opportunity to win a significant amount of games down the stretch becomes a lot more likely.