Rookie Thompson quick to impress Warriors' brass, if not NBA

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Rookie Thompson quick to impress Warriors' brass, if not NBA

Joe Lacob, owner of the Warriors, said before the season that he believed Klay Thompson was going to win the Rookie of the Year award. Mark Jackson, coach of the Warriors, said he believes Thompson will be an elite NBA shooting guard.As for Thompson, he just keeps plugging away.There is a little bit (of pressure), but I enjoy it, Thompson said of the expectations. Thats why Im at this level. Thats why I expect it and its part of the job. Id rather have that pressure than not have it and not have the ability.So, Im just thankful for it and Ill keep working. And if I stay humble, Ill get there someday.

You could make a case that Thompson already has made some significant strides. After playing both sparingly and tentatively early in the season, Thompson has found his confidence and his perimeter shot.Before Wednesday nights game against Portland, Thompson had connected on 14 of his previous 19 3-pointers. He also hit one of the biggest shots of the season a 3-pointer with nine seconds left to send a game into overtime at Sacramento on Feb. 4.Hes one of the leagues best 3-point shooters, ranked fourth, shooting 48.1 percent.If I didnt think he was capable of it, I would be, but Im not concerned about that, Jackson said about praising Thompson. Hes a heck of a player already. And he forces you to play him more and more when hes out there. Everything about him says winning so Im not concerned with pressure on him.Hes a heck of a player and we were fortunate to get him when we got him. We had our eyes on him all the time and he has not disappointed.In just 26 games, Thompson has proven himself to be a terrific shooter. Hes got a quick release and may be the teams best catch-and-shoot guy. The next step for Thompson is to use that deadly shot as a foundation to his game and begin to build off it.How can he do that? Heres how:Just being more aggressive off the bounce, Thompson said. I think I have the ability to get to the rim. I just have to pick my spots and do it more often, thats all. I shot a lot of free throws in college, but this is a different level. I just have to work on that.Thompsons improvement this season has made some wonder if he can eventually be the full-time starter at shooting guard. Of course, that would make you wonder about another question, and that would be: Then what would you do about Monta Ellis?As optimistic as Lacob and Jackson are about Thompson, general manager Larry Riley is taking a more subtle approach.Sometimes you take the conservative route, Riley said. You say, OK, lets protect ourselves here a little bit. Lets not say too much. But I want to tell you, hes on track to become a really good player and the skys the limit. Development in a player is very difficult to predict and its one of those kinds of things where he is developing. What his limits are, were not certain. But we certainly like his chances.Thompsons role might be getting bigger for the Warriors, but it wasnt large enough for the league to take notice. Thompson was passed over for the Rising Stars challenge game and the 3-point shooting contest at the upcoming All-Star weekend.I was disappointed I wasnt in that rookie game, Thompson said. Thats all right. Ill just have a chip on my shoulder and keep coming to the gym, getting up shots and working on my game.That practice is already paying off. As the season wears on, Thompson is getting more and more productive. Hes scored in double-figures in four of the past six games and had a career-high 19 points in a road win over Denver last week.Yet even as Thompson makes more frequent and bigger contributions, he remains low-key about it all.Hes earned those minutes, Jackson said. Hes a guy who comes to practice early, leaves late, doesnt take days off. He works his tail off and isnt afraid of the moment. Hell shoot with three seconds left in the game the same way hes going to shoot the first three minutes of a game. It doesnt bother him.

Myers: 'It's painful' that Kerr not able to treasure being in NBA Finals

Myers: 'It's painful' that Kerr not able to treasure being in NBA Finals

OAKLAND -- Warriors coach Steve Kerr is no closer to resuming full-time duties than he was a week ago, or even a month ago.

Out since April 23, when he announced he was taking a leave of absence to address chronic pain in the wake of multiple back surgeries nearly two years ago, Kerr has been a constant presence the past two weeks but not on the bench during games.

“He’s doing everything but coaching, but at this point, he’s not able to coach,” general manager Bob Myers said Thursday after practice. “I wish could say that he was. I’m sure he wishes he could as well. But that’s where we are.

“If something changes and he feels better, I’ll sit here or, better -- he would sit here -- and tell you. But right now, I can’t say that he’s going to be coaching.”

Though Kerr did not address media Thursday, he indicated earlier this week that he would be comfortable going into the NBA Finals, which begin June 1, with acting head coach Mike Brown at the helm.

“We’re 12-0,” Kerr told NBCSportsBayArea.com. “I feel great about where the team is. I know we can play better. I think the challenge we’re about to face, one way or the other, is going to take us to another level.”

The Warriors under Kerr finished the regular season with a league-best 67-15 mark, earning the No. 1 overall seed for the playoffs. Kerr coached Games 1 and 2 of the first round against Portland before surrendering head coaching duties to Brown.

The Warriors are 10-0 since Brown took over, 27-1 over their last 28 games since March 11.

Still, they would like Kerr to regain health and join them in their quest for a second championship in three years.

“It’s hard for me; I’m kind of in this basketball mode,” Myers said. “But he’s a person and he’s not feeling well. And that’s what makes it hard. More than how it reflects on our team is how he’s feeling that makes it very difficult to have to sit here and say that the man that’s hugely responsible for us being in The Finals for three years in a row, in a moment that he should be treasuring, can’t do it.

“It’s painful. And I know it’s painful for him, more than anybody. And I wish and he wishes and I’m sure you guys do, too, that there was something that could get him there. But right now, we’re not at that point.”

LeBron: Chasing Jordan 'my personal goal to keep me motivated'

LeBron: Chasing Jordan 'my personal goal to keep me motivated'

BOSTON -- LeBron James says his chase of Michael Jordan's accomplishments is simply personal motivation. It's not about wanting to establish himself as the NBA's greatest player.

James spoke Thursday during the morning shootaround before the Cavaliers play the Boston Celtics in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals.

If the Cavaliers advance, James would be making a seventh consecutive trip to the NBA Finals.

He said his goal is not about passing Jordan in titles, points or MVP awards. James is 28 points shy of overtaking Jordan as the postseason's leading scorer. With 40 more points, James could also become the first player in NBA history to score 6,000 points in the playoffs.

But the Cavaliers superstar says his pursuit is about leaving a legacy to motivate the next generation of players.

"It's just my personal goal to keep me motivated, that's all," James said. "You guys are gonna have the conversations about who's the greatest of all time and things of that nature, it doesn't matter to me."

He also said he believes that the greatness conversation is discussed more often in the NBA than in other sports.

"It's never talked about (in the) NFL, who's the greatest quarterback. It's just like (Dan) Marino, (John) Elway, (Peyton) Manning, (Tom) Brady - all great quarterbacks. It should be the same for us," James said. "We go out and just try to be as great as we can be every night.

"The comparison of always trying to compare people, either living or still playing or not playing - I think it's great for barbershops."