Warriors take Klay Thompson with No. 11 pick

June 24, 2011, 12:35 am
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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.