Warriors take Klay Thompson with No. 11 pick


Warriors take Klay Thompson with No. 11 pick


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SECOND-ROUND UPDATE: The Warriors acquired the rights to Jeremy Tyler who was picked No. 39 by Charlotte. With the 44th pick, the Warriors selected guard Charles Jenkins of Hofstra.
Matt Steinmetz

OAKLAND -- Through all the NBA draft chatter, deception, subterfuge and outright fabrications, the Warriors on Thursday ended up taking the player they were linked to from the very beginning: Washington State shooting guard Klay Thompson.Thompson is considered one of the best pure shooters in the draft, and at 6-foot-7 will give the Warriors some size in their backcourt. Of course, that's important for a team with a starting backcourt of Stephen Curry and Monta Ellis, a pair of undersized backcourt players.But with Thompson, the Warriors did not address their defensive deficiencies or lack of size on the interior. They still think they're better than they were before the draft began."This player has a bright future," Warriors executive vice president of basketball operations Larry Riley said. "He's got good pedigree, he can score, comes from a basketball family. He'll have success in the NBA and he has a very good upside. He should be able to play as a rookie and contribute to this basketball team."
Jerry West, whom the Warriors hired about a month ago as a member of their executive board, spoke glowingly of Thompson in the days after he was hired. West had a relationship with Thompson's father, Mychal Thompson, who played for the Lakers while West was the GM there.Thompson is a player with NBA shooting range and was able to make a play off the dribble in college. Where he'll be challenged early in his career is at the defensive end. Then again, he's not any different from most rookies in that regard.RATTO: Thompson not what Warriors need
"I've got to keep working on my strength and lateral quickness," Thompson said. "Strength is my biggest issue. I have to keep getting stronger and I've got some polishing to do. But if I keep working on that I think I can be a great defensive player in this league one day."When Riley was asked what Thompson is going to have to do to succeed early in his career, he replied: "Concentration."Riley said one of Thompson's best attributes is his know-how and headiness and if he can maintain his focus he'll likely have a chance to play in his first season. Thompson's strength is certainly not at the defensive end, but at the same time the Warriors believe he's smart enough to get by at that end.Still, the buzzwords from the Warriors front office and new coach Mark Jackson have been defense and size. The Warriors obviously didn't address those areas with the No. 11 pick.Florida State swingman Chris Singleton was considered the draft's best perimeter defender, and Riley said at the beginning of the week he believed Singleton could defend small forwards and even some power forwards. At the offensive end, however, Singleton is extremely limited and doesn't possess much of an outside shot.Some of the big men the Warriors figured they might have a shot at before the draft all were gobbled up by the time their pick came around. Bismack Biyombo from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Texas' Tristan Thompson and Lithuania's Jonas Valanciunas all were gone when the Warriors picked.So, in reality the Warriors were looking at Thompson along with Marcus Morris and Markieff Morris, two power forwards out of Kansas. If you're wondering if Kenneth Faried and Kawhi Leonard were in the mix they weren't.Riley said earlier in the week that the Warriors were not really considering Faried. And after selecting Thompson, Riley was asked whether Leonard was on the team's board at all."No," said Riley.
At the end of the day, the Warriors addressed one of their issues within an issue: Size in the backcourt. But as for the two most problematic aspects of the team -- interior size and defense -- well, those will have to wait, apparently.

Whether Brown or Kerr coach, Warriors sticking to same blueprint

Whether Brown or Kerr coach, Warriors sticking to same blueprint

OAKLAND -- For the first time since he joined the coaching staff last summer, Mike Brown on Wednesday morning arrived at the Warriors facility a man in charge.

As acting head coach, he would decide when practice started and when it ended, and conduct proceedings in between.

The general activity was not much different for anyone else, though, as it continues to become evident that everything the Warriors do for the foreseeable future will be a Brown-Kerr, or Kerr-Brown, production.

“Steve is going to be a part of this process the whole time,” Brown said after practice. “Almost before I do anything, I’m going to consult with him. The only time I won’t consult with him is probably during a game.”

Since Kerr’s announcement last Sunday that he was taking an indefinite leave to attend to personal health issues, Brown has been wielding the clipboard. He actually coached Game 3 against Portland last Saturday, in Kerr’s absence, before knowing in advance he’d also coach Game 4 Monday night.

Brown is 2-0, with the Game 4 win clinching a Warriors sweep of the Trail Blazers. Yet Brown is quick to remind anyone that he is following the plan laid out by Kerr. The two exchanged texts Tuesday and, according to Brown, “spoke at length” after the game between the Jazz and the Clippers -- one of which will face the Warriors in the next round.

Though the Warriors are operating under a different head coach, all indications are the atmosphere around the team remains stable and relatively unchanged.

“Obviously it’s different personalities, but when you make it about the players, when you make it about winning, all that other stuff really doesn’t matter,” Kevin Durant said. “He coaches us. He coaches the game of basketball and he does it very well. Our whole coaching staff does the same thing.

“When it’s about basketball, it’s not about trying to have authority over us. He’s just coaching us. He’s just coaching us up. He’s just telling us the proper way to do things on the basketball court. It’s pretty simple when you try to do that. Then it’s on us to try to execute.”

Execution has gone well, particularly over the last six quarters of the series against Portland. The Warriors wiped out a 16-point deficit in the second half to win Game 3, and then rolled to a 35-9 start in Game 4 before coasting to the closeout victory.

Brown was on the sideline in Game 4, with Kerr watching the game from the locker room.

It’s fairly apparent, though, that everyone involved feels a heightened sense of accountability and ownership.

“Mike has had a pretty big voice throughout the whole season,” Durant said. “He’s been a head coach before, understands what it takes to be a head coach. And the coaching staff is just so smart, and they empower each other.

“Anybody, if you’re around us on a day-to-day basis, anybody can tell that they work well as a group. Coach Kerr does a great job. He spearheads it all by empowering everybody, from the coaches to the players.”

After sweeping Blazers, Warriors relishing some needed down time

After sweeping Blazers, Warriors relishing some needed down time

OAKLAND -- After arriving in Oakland in the wee hours Tuesday morning, the Warriors took the day off, went through a light practice Wednesday and will take another day off Thursday.

Slackers, eh?

Not really, when the next game is at least four days away.

The semi-lax scheduling isn’t the decision of acting head coach Mike Brown. It’s not even the decision of head coach Steve Kerr, who was not at practice Wednesday and remains out indefinitely. It’s a common sense call that was made between the two men, with players and staffers on board.

“If you can sweep every series,” Kevin Durant said after practice, “then that’ll be perfect.”

This is one of the perks of sweeping a first-round opponent. By eliminating the Trail Blazers in four games and with their next opponent undetermined, the Warriors are able to balance work and rest.

“With this group here,” Brown said, “the continuity that the nucleus has and how intelligent the guys are, with the big-time veterans we’ve brought in, we feel that rest for their bodies and mentally (are) more important than coming in here and having practice on a daily basis.”

They also have a couple guys recovering from injuries. Forward Matt Barnes (right foot/ankle bone bruise) has been out two weeks, and guard Shaun Livingston (right index finger sprain/hand contusion) has missed the past nine days. Both, however, are expected to be available for the next series.

The soonest that would be is Sunday against Utah, which owns a 3-2 series lead over the Clippers and can close it out Friday in Salt Lake City. If the Clippers win and push the series to seven games, the Warriors would then open against the Clippers-Jazz winner on May 2.

Meanwhile, the Warriors have no choice but to prepare for both, with plenty of time to do so.