Hornets Player Grades: JT Thor

Did the God of Thunder earn a spot on next year's roster?
Nell Redmond-USA TODAY Sports
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After being drafted in 2021 alongside James Bouknight, Kai Jones, and Scottie Lewis, Thor showed some promising signs in his first NBA go-around despite minimal playing time. Following a somewhat stagnant second year, many considered his third one as make-or-break.

In the days and weeks before the start of the season, reports came out about the Nebraskan’s stellar work ethic:

“He’s been amazing. It’s been talked about among all the peers about how great he’s been and how much time he’s put in this summer.”

Terry Rozier

"Yeah he's been in the gym. You can tell. I feel like he can help us."

LaMelo Ball

"He spent so much time this summer with Norm Richardson and Bruce Kreutzer (assistant coaches) working on his skills and shooting. The thing about him is he gets into details."

Steve Clifford

Let’s see if the 21-year-old was able to capitalize off of his offseason efforts and solidify himself as a rotational piece for the Hornets.

Glass Half Full

The former Auburn Tiger was one of the main beneficiaries of Charlotte's injury problems, playing an average of 12.4 minutes. He suited up 63 times and got plenty of opportunities to develop his game in an NBA setting.

Stat-wise, the major area of improvement has been Thor’s three-point shot. The forward has made 34.6% of his three-point-tries in the 2023-24 season, after converting only 31.7% of his attempts in the year prior and 25.9% in his first season. This is yet another testament to JTs' w ork ethic. He also continues to bring the rare combination of great athleticism and a lengthy wingspan to the table (We’ll get to how he uses those in the next segment).

Glass Half Empty

Although the jumper has come along to a certain extent, JT continued to be a non-factor offensively, providing nothing apart from a few catch-and-shoot threes here and there. Despite possessing all the necessary physical tools to attack the basket, he has been the opposite of an inside presence, which is amplified by a total of 20 (!!!) free throw attempts on the season.

All of this wouldn’t be as much of a concern if the defense would have progressed further. And there were small stretches, especially in the latter stages of the season, where the disruptiveness of Thor shined through. But overall, that type of production has not been there consistently.

Best Moment of the season

20 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists, and 3 blocks (all career-highs) vs the Cavs

Granted this was the last game of the season and Cleveland rested multiple starters. Still, the “god of thunder” was able to put together a good performance, showcasing all the skills Hornets fans have been waiting to see on display: He got to the rim with some crafty finishes, swished three triples, and added five stocks on defense.

Worst moment of the season

Franchise-record loss against the 76ers

Like most of the Hornets squad, Thor did not look like an NBA-level player in the season's early stages. He shot 36.7% from the field before the All-Star-Break and barely added anything on both ends of the floor. During that timespan also came arguably his worst outing of the season in an 135-82 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers on December 16th. JT played 22 minutes, went 1-8 from the field, grabbed two rebounds, and committed one turnover. It was a performance emblematic of his rough start to the season.

Overall Player Grade: C-

It has not been a great year for the last remaining prospect of the Hornets' infamous 2021 draft class. Apart from a slight shooting uptick and an energetic stretch to close out the season, he didn’t show much of an improvement, despite getting a large number of minutes for a player of his caliber. While the upside and work ethic are clearly there, Thor needs to become a somewhat reliable role-player soon, or his time in Charlotte might be up.

Albert Bottcher