PHILADELPHIA -- Warriors fans, hoping for major moves by Golden State's front office, may not be too excited about the signing of Al Thornton.
But Warriors coach Keith Smart sure is happy to have Thornton, the 6-foot-8, 235-pound forward Golden State picked up Thursday. Thornton, who cleared waivers after being bought out by Washington on Tuesday, gives Smart something extra with which to work.
First, Thornton has a skill the Warriors didn't previously have -- a perimeter player who can post up.
Second, Thornton has a mindset that isn't pervasive in the Warriors' locker room -- nonstop attack mode.
"He's different from a lot of guys that we have," Smart said. "He has size, he has a post game, and he's shown that throughout his career. And he's an aggressive player."
Smart has always said he'd prefer to have to tone down a player than to motivate one. But most of the season, he's been doing a lot of motivating.
He's been trying to prod swingman Reggie Williams to be aggressive consistently. Smart has been doing all he can to boost the confidence of center Andris Biedrins. Earlier, Smart had to push forward David Lee to play his game instead of blending in, and Smart periodically has to reassure point guard Stephen Curry, who has a tendency to beat himself up. Most of the season, Smart tried to light a fire under forward Brandan Wright, who has since been traded to New Jersey.
For Thornton, it's a relief to be wanted.
"It's exciting when a coach shows interest in you," said Thornton, who put in extra work after Saturday's practice. "It makes you feel good on the inside. I feel like I have to prove a little bit, most importantly, to myself but also to the naysayers."
Smart said Williams and Vladimir Radmanovic will, for the time being, get the majority of the small forward minutes behind starter Dorell Wright. Thornton, who played two minutes at power forward in Boston on Friday, will play mostly small forward and some shooting guard when the Warriors want to go big, Smart said.