OAKLAND -- When the Warriors broke up the StephenCurry-Monta Ellis backcourt, it came after years of debate, discussion and alot of disagreement.In short, there were legitimate questions about theircompatibility. And last March the Warriors came to the conclusion that aCurry-Ellis backcourt wouldnt work and traded Ellis to Milwaukee in a deal forAndrew Bogut.The Warriors did that for two reasons: They needed a centerand they believed Klay Thompson could be the shooting guard of the future andthe long-term backcourt partner of Curry.So, heres the question, and maybe youll think itspremature. Are Curry and Thompson really compatible? Do they complement eachother, do they make each other better and are they more of a solution goingforward than problem?Though Curry and Thompson have played just eight gamestogether, some troubling signs are emerging. Its not just that both playersare off to bad starts. Its that a closer look at their games raises somequestions. Here are a few of them: Thompson is a terrific shooter,particularly from 3-point range. Its the strength of his game, and hes athreat from anywhere on the perimeter.But is that the kind of two guard you want playing withCurry, who isnt a penetrator, isnt really a slasher and doesnt kick-out fromthe lane very often?Its fair to wonder whether Thompson can thrive in such asituation with that kind of point guard. Warriors coach Mark Jackson can talkall he wants about the defense of Curry and Thompson, and how both have improved.But theyre still not a good defensive backcourt.Curry doesnt have the lateral quickness of some pointguards and doesnt have the strength of others. Thompson certainly has size forhis position, but hes also got to get tougher and stronger.Can both grow in this area? Of course they can. Butout-defending another teams backcourt on a consistent basis doesnt seem likeits in the cards for them. Neither player is an above-averageathlete for his position, and this manifests itself in a lack of easy buckets.There were certainly aspects of Ellis game to criticize, but the ability toget to the rim certainly wasnt one of them.In the open court, Ellis was fantastic and even in thehalfcourt he would find ways to get into the lane and finish. He had theability to get there with quickness, by contorting and sometimes simply byelevating. You could make the case that Curryand Thompson have games that are too similar. The No. 1 strength of each playeris outside shooting. Thats good, on the one hand, but it also means that theremay be nights when neither shoots the ball particularly well.That seems to be whats happening now, with Curry shooting37 percent from the field and Thompson 36 percent. Having a perimeter-shootingbackcourt also means that youre not going to get to the foul lineconsistently, let alone in abundance.In some ways, you have two players who excel at coming offscreens, but yet neither is overly adept at finding each other coming offscreens.There has been a lot of debate as to whether Curry is apoint guard or not and whether thats his best position. Thats irrelevant,though, because the Warriors have made it clear they believe he is. That 44million contract will tell you that.The real question moving forward is whether theCurry-Thompson backcourt can thrive together or whether it might have some ofthe same issues that a Curry-Ellis backcourt had.
OAKLAND -- David West is as much a cleanup man as he is a basketball player.
The veteran power forward, masquerading as a center for the Warriors, cleans up behind teammates, cleans the clocks of opponents and probably cleans his plate after every meal. And he’d hit fourth in any manager’s batting order.
The Warriors during their renaissance haven’t had such a personality. They’ve been a fun bunch, enjoying life, each other and their pillaging of the NBA.
West, 36, brings a more laconic dynamic, and it’s on full display as the Warriors lean into the final weeks of this regular season. He’s a leader who is producing and, more and more, winning over a fan base that was somewhat skeptical early this season.
“David West has been playing brilliantly,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said Friday night, after West came off the bench for a highly efficient 14-minute stint in a 114-100 win over the Kings.
Showcasing sharp passing, splendid shooting, solid rim protection and his usual old-jerky toughness, West totaled 8 points, four assists, three rebounds, three blocks and one steal. The Warriors were plus-8 when he was on the floor.
Such production, it seems, is a bit of a bonus.
“He’s been very good for us as a veteran leader,” Draymond Green said. “He’s been playing well, but just his presence also has meant a lot to this team.
“D-West is just kind of a no-bull---- type of a guy. He doesn’t say much. But when he does, you know it means a lot. And everybody hears him.”
Said West: “It’s just about adjusting and learning personalities. Obviously, this group has been very successful. I just try to add my 2 cents where I feel like it fits. Try not to over-talk people. I speak to guys directly and just make sure that we’re all on the same page.”
West is in his 14th season. Drafted by the New Orleans Hornets in 2003, he also has played for the Pacers and, last season, the Spurs, before joining the Warriors in July.
The question at the time was whether he still had a lot to give. West is a two-time All-Star and one of the most widely respected players in the league. But did he still have the legs to compete at a high level?
The answer is visible, particularly over the past month, since he returned from fractured left thumb on Feb. 23. West is shooting 53.0 percent from the field, he’s rebounding consistently and he has proven to be a spectacularly good passer -- easily one of the best in the league among big men.
Earlier this week, to quell any lingering concerns about how much athleticism he still has, West rose up and dunked over a crowd of three Dallas Mavericks. It was clock-cleaning at its finest.
“I’m just getting more comfortable,” West said, referring to his game and his locker-room influence. “We’ve developed good chemistry, communicating, harping on our defense more than anything else at this moment, because we feel that’s going to give us a chance if shots aren’t falling.”
West is on a one-year deal for the veteran’s minimum, $1.55 million. He sacrificed bigger dollars for a chance at his first championship. He’s doing his part. And he neither takes nor leaves any mess.
For the 44th time in the 2016-17 season, the Warriors dished out 30-plus assists or more in one game. Not only does that set a franchise record, Golden State is also the first to do so since one of the greatest teams in NBA history.
On a Steph Curry assist down the court that resulted in an Andre Iguodala running reverse dunk with 38 seconds left in the third quarter, the Warriors made history. The nifty assist made the Warriors the first team since the 1985-86 Showtime Lakers to hand out 30 or more assists 44 times in one season.
Last season, when the Warriors set an NBA record record with 73 wins, the team finished 43 games with the feat.
The '85-86 Lakers were looking to repeat as NBA champions 21 years ago but came up short in five games to Hakeem Olajuwon and the Houston Rockets in the Western Conference Finals.
Golden State finsihed Friday night with 37 assists in a 114-100 win over the Kings. Curry led the way with 12 dimes.