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Thornton: Clippers 'one of the best places I could have gone'

Al Thornton’s wait to hear his name called by NBA commissioner David Stern at the league’s draft was a little longer than he expected. But Thornton may have ended up in a terrific situation.

Thornton, predicted by many mock drafts to be picked anywhere from eight to 12th, was selected by the Los Angeles Clippers at No. 14. Thornton didn’t work out for the Clippers before the draft, although he did work out for many of the teams picking before Los Angeles.

“I was a little surprised at some of the other guys that were going in front of me,” the former Perry High School and Florida State star said Friday morning. “But you never know with the draft. I thought I had a good feeling of where I was going to go, but it threw me a curveball, and you have to just roll with it.”

Thornton may be rolling into a perfect situation.

The Clippers missed the playoffs this past season when they lost on the final day of the regular season. They are led by talented young players like Elton Brand, Corey Maggette and Shaun Livingston and veteran point guard Sam Cassell.

And Thornton thinks the Clippers’ style of play will fit his talents.

“They use an open style that will work for me,” he said. “They can let me come in and freelance and play my game and make plays. I’m surprised I didn’t go higher, but this is one of the best places I could have gone.”

Thornton was in New York for the draft Thursday night, and he said he will return to Georgia before heading to Los Angeles for an introductory news conference Monday. After that, he will play in the summer leagues and prepare for preseason camp and the season this fall.

“I’m very excited, very excited,” Thornton said. “I’m kind of shocked that I went to the Clippers and that I was still available then. But I’m blessed, and I’m a Clipper now.”

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