Former Clipper Taking His Game to the German BBL

Sindarius Thornwell Clippers

Getty LA Clippers wing Sindarius Thornwell defends Chicago Bulls star Zach LaVine during a 2018 game.

Sindarius Thornwell’s time with the LA Clippers may have been relatively brief, but he certainly made an impression. When the team was in its first days post-Lob City, he was one of the players who helped it exceed expectations. And he did so as a rookie.

Now, he’s looking to make a similar splash with a brand new team on an entirely different continent. Per an announcement from the club on Thursday, Thornwell — who will turn 27 on November 15 — has signed on the dotted line with Ratiopharm Ulm of the Basketball Bundesliga (BBL) in Germany.

Thornwell’s most recent NBA action came last season with the Orlando Magic. He had begun the season with the New Orleans Pelicans, before earning a two-way spot with Orlando in May.

In a combined 21 games in 2020-21, he averaged two points and one assist in 10.3 minutes per contest.

Thornwell Made His Mark Defensively When He Got the Chance in Los Angeles

Before he caught on as a substitute player for the bubble-bound Pels during the 2019-20 season, Thornwell had spent two years in Los Angeles. However, his first year in the Association, the 2017-18 campaign, was when he was really given the chance to shine.

That year, he appeared in 73 games for the Clippers, 17 of which were starts. His basic numbers didn’t exactly jump off of the stat sheet — Thornwell averaged 3.9 points and 1.9 rebounds in 15.8 minutes per game — but his defensive effort raised some eyebrows.

When Thornwell was the closest defender that season, opponents had a field goal percentage differential of minus-1.0. Meanwhile, the Clippers were 3.9 points per 100 possessions better defensively when Thornwell was on the floor, which is a rare feat for a rookie.

However, he may be best remembered for the above throwdown on DeAndre Liggins.

In his second go-round with the Clippers, minutes became pretty scarce for the 6-foot-4 wing as the team returned to its previous playoff form.

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The Situation in Ulm

Thornwell’s new club became motivated to sign him when swingman Christoph Philipps fell prey to injury.

“Chrissi’s injury is very painful for us; he is our best defender, in my opinion,” said Ulm’s sports director and former coach Thorsten Leibenath, via translation. “We are all the happier that we were able to find a first-class replacement in Sindarius Thornwell, who can not only set a tone defensively but will also give our young team stability due to its variability in its offensive game. It’s great to see.”

Ratiopharm Ulm currently sits in sixth place in the BBL with a record of 4-3. Internationally, the club competes at the EuroCup level, where it just secured an overtime win over the Slovenian team, KK Olimpija, on November 10.


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