Stephen Curry deserves your attention. He is a great shooter — maybe the best shooter in the league. The Warriors have been feverishly trying to figure out how best to take advantage of Curry and his talents.
Mark Jackson helped transform the Warriors into a solid defensive team with his deadly outside shooting, sometimes hiding Curry defensively with his shortcomings on that end of the floor. They put together a solid front court rotation that featured Andrew Bogut (when healthy) and David Lee. It was an odd mix that Jackson always got the most out of into a playoff series victory and relevance in the NBA — or back-to-back Playoff appearances for the first time since 1991 and 1992.
The Warriors had their turmoil.
Jackson was unceremoniously (and somewhat controversially) sacked in favor of the inexperienced Steve Kerr, someone who would more carefully toe the party line with owner Joe Lacob.
He ended up with the Cavaliers, but the Warriors were the front-runner with the Timberwolves reportedly asking for David Lee and Klay Thompson in return for Love.
That is where things stalled. The Warriors would not give Klay Thompson up and there appeared to be some discord within the Warriors organization about the deal. I mean, it was Kevin Love and it seems like giving up a still-unproven player for Love and the chance for a killer inside-out duo made too much sense.
Thompson is still a Warrior though (and reportedly “pissed off” about being involved in trade rumors). The “Splash Brothers” remain intact.
And the best backcourt duo in the NBA is still in the Bay Area.
Klay Thompson is not someone to forget when it comes to the Warriors. He made sure to let everyone know that as he cracked the U.S. roster for the FIBA World Cup. He has at times been more visible than his teammate Stephen Curry in those friendlies as he seems to fit better as a secondary piece as well as he does as a starter.
His scoring average continued to increase and he really came into his own scoring 18.7 points per game and shooting 44.4 percent from the floor and 41.7 percent from beyond the arc. At 6-foot-7, 205 pounds, Thompson really has the physical tools to be a great and unique shooting guard in the league. And he has such a great jumper.
It becomes clear Thompson could be in store for something really special.
A great FIBA World Cup and a good star, giving the Warriors confidence in their decision to keep Thompson. This could be his year. And Thompson senses it too, as he told Marcus Thompson III of the San Jose Mercury News:
I always thought people already do know who I am. I want to be great. That comes with pressure. It comes with eyes on you. In year four, I’m looking to take a huge leap like I did last year.
Thompson III’s interview with Klay Thompson gets into his feelings about being involved in trade rumors for Love, his relief that it is over and the confidence he feels the Warriors have shown in him by keeping him with the Love temptation out there.
To do that, Thompson acknowledges he will have to become a more reliable defender. But the Warriors, a team that had outside championship aspirations last year after acquiring Andre Iguodala in the offseason, are hoping to be healthy the entire season and realize their full potential. Steve Kerr has assembled a capable staff and he has the basketball knowledge to have a chance at being good in the lead chair.
All will need to come together for Thompson to have a good year.
But this kid can shoot. That is his big skill that makes him an NBA player and will propel him forward. He and Curry make such a dangerous crew. It is easy to see both Curry and Thompson continue their upswing and development. They continue to be two of the best players in the entire league.
That makes Golden State extremely dangerous. That should keep making Team U.S.A. very dangerous when the time comes later this month.
And it could set Klay Thompson up for the rest of this season for a big, big year.