Warriors

Warriors' Summer League review: Thompson

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Warriors' Summer League review: Thompson

Summer League is an incredibly small sample size at five games but it provides a first look at incoming rookies and a chance to see development from promising sophomores. For Warriors guard Klay Thompson, the sample size was even smaller at just two games, but coaches and management were no doubt pleased with what they saw.

A lot has been made out of Thompsons performance after Monta Ellis was traded (18.6 ppg in 34 mpg). Whether he is a legitimate NBA star or not remains to be seen but it's clar he 's an excellent shooter (41.3 3-point percentage, first among rookies, 18th in the NBA).
RELATED: Thompson stats splits game logs

His two games in Summer League indicate that skill has not deserted him. He lit it up in Las Vegas, shooting 71.4 percent from three-point range in his two games, which would be an NBA record for those scoring at home. Besides shooting well, the Warriors can be encouraged by how Thompson looked within the offense. He ran crisp cuts off down screens and passed well, racking up nine assists in two games.

The news was not all good, though. The rest of his shooting numbers were sub-par. He was 4-for-13 from inside the arc. That broke down further to 2 of 5 inside the paint and 2 of 8 on long twos.

Using a much larger sample size, courtesy of Hoopdata.com, last season Thompson shot above the league average at the rim (65.8 percent), from 10-to-15 feet (44.2 percent), and from 16-to-23 feet (41 percent). But he struggled from 3-to-9 feet (20.9 percent). So his shooting inside the arc should not be much of a concern, but it is something to watch as he continues to develop.

Overall, his performance was about as positive as you could ask for from a second-year player tabbed as the starting two-guard. He gelled well with his other young teammates, played with confidence and performed at a high level. Not a bad two games after practicing with Team USA all week.

Teams will continue to call about Klay Thompson and Warriors will keep laughing

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AP

Teams will continue to call about Klay Thompson and Warriors will keep laughing

There is a single reason teams keep sniffing out the availability of Klay Thompson, and it’s far more easily understood than the myriad reasons the Warriors keep telling them no.

No fewer than four teams have either reached out or considered reaching out, the latest being revealed as the detested Cleveland Cavaliers.

The Warriors, of course, declined them, perhaps after general manager Bob Myers put Cavs GM Koby Altman on speakerphone so everybody at Warriors HQ could double over with team-building laughter.

The Cavs got the same answer as was previously heard by the Pacers and the Timberwolves, and maybe even the Celtics, whose interest was rumored though never actually substantiated.

All four teams, though, along with maybe few others, all reached the same conclusion. They looked at the Warriors, studied their prime core, and concluded that Thompson was the most available member.

Clearly more available than Stephen Curry, who is the face of the franchise.

Likely more available than Draymond Green, whose two-way versatility and temperament are vital to the grand ambitions of the Warriors.

And infinitely more available than Kevin Durant, who arrived two years after Minnesota shot its shot -- by dangling Kevin Love -- and evolved into their most impressive overall player.

So it’s Thompson who gets his tires kicked. He’s 27 years old, has two years remaining on his contract and, most germane, seems to be the least emotionally invested star in the organization. That is may not be true, but it’s an easy conclusion based on appearances and the misguided thought that the Warriors don’t value him as much as they do the others.

Wrong.

“It's really cool,” Thompson said Wednesday, referring to being pursued and prized. “It shows the Warriors believe in me and these other teams want me to be a part of their success. So I appreciate it. I've been in trade rumors forever. Everyone has. Except for maybe LeBron James, Steph — well, even Steph early in his career.”

Any team that asks about Thompson is aware that the Thompson-Love deal gained considerable traction in 2014 before it was vetoed by then-adviser Jerry West and newly hired head coach Steve Kerr.

If the Warriors were thinking about it then, why not later?

They have their reasons, beginning with the fact they’ve experienced more success over the past three seasons than at any time in franchise history, winning two championships in three seasons and becoming a regular in the NBA Finals. Why even consider breaking the squad that so clearly is the cream of the NBA?

Another reason is that the Warriors have come to fully understand Thompson’s role in their competitive prosperity. He’s a gunslinger that manages to be highly productive without spending much time with the ball, and his fabulous defense makes that end of the court so much easier for Curry. The Thompson-Curry backcourt is the best in the league and already in the discussion for the best ever.

There is another component that is rather understated. Thompson is the ultimate zero-maintenance All-Star. In a locker room of varied personalities, some loud, nearly all opinionated, he’s like a breeze that is cool enough be felt yet never so much it feels imposing.

The Warriors have come to appreciate Thompson being the closest thing to a wind-up All-Star in a league where that is exceedingly rare. Give him a jersey, a ball and some shoes and let him go.

So, no, he’s not leaving anytime soon. The only way he goes before he becomes a free agent in 2019 -- at which time he’s likely to take a peep around the NBA -- is if the Warriors somehow take a tumble in the standings or try to low-ball him.

Until then, teams may continue to ask. They have to as a strategy to improve themselves while diminishing the league’s powerhouse. Understanding this, the Warriors will take the calls and appreciate the humor of it all.

Former Warriors forward wins BIG3’s Best Trash Talker

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USATSI

Former Warriors forward wins BIG3’s Best Trash Talker

Stephen Jackson is known as one of the biggest characters in Warriors history. 

The 14-year NBA veteran always let you know what he was thinking. Some things never change. 

Jackson, now playing for the Killer 3s in the BIG3, was awarded the league's Best Trash Talker award on Wednesday. 

Serving as the Killer 3s co-captain with Chauncey Billups, Jackson is currently leading the league in scoring. At 39 years old, Jackson is averaging 21.6 points per game over 31.7 minutes per game. 

In four seasons with the Warriors, Jackson poured in 19.4 points and 5.0 assists per game. Over 14 years in the NBA, he averaged 15.1 points per game. 

Former Warriors big man Al Harrington was voted Too Hard to Guard with his 15.3 points per game.