The Golden State Warriors came back from 25 points down to beat the San Antonio Spurs Sunday afternoon 113-111. While the comeback was made possible by the 3rd quarter injury to Kawhi Leonard it was still a combined effort by a more experienced Warriors team. Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant helped lead the charge, however, one player was not shockingly absent. Klay Thompson.
One can argue that the Spurs had this game in the bag if not for the injury to Leonard. On the other hand, one could argue that the Spurs would not have had such a huge lead if Thompson decided to show up. Thompson is one of the best pure shooters in the NBA and his game fits well with Curry. But when he struggles, it’s awful.
As Curry goes, so does the Warriors but Klay, that’s a different story.
Klay Thompson is beloved in Oakland as he should be for helping the team achieve great success. But ask yourself this– can the Warriors still be successful without him? I like to believe so. This offseason the Golden State Warriors will be faced with a few hard decisions as Curry, Durant, Shaun Livingston and Andre Iguodala will become available to test the market. Curry is a must keep but his price tag could reach the neighborhood of $30M+. The same can be said if Durant decides to opt-out as well.
Thompson makes $17M per season and is signed through 2019. As good as the Warriors are, they will now have to deal with the downside of success. With winning come bigger contracts and tougher decisions. However, if the Warriors were to examine their roster they would see that a Thompson trade would be in their best interest. The NBA is a business and if the team is to continue their success Thompson is the one player they could do without.
Throughout his career, he’s averaged 19 points on 47 percent shooting. however, 7 of his 16 FGA’s are from beyond the arc. The majority of them were when they Warriors were in need of another sniper from long-range but with the addition of Durant, he’s become expendable. The Warriors could make a move for a cheaper talent like Avery Bradley of the Boston Celtics. Bradley can provide outside shooting and will be an upgrade on the defensive side of the floor Thompson. Another option could be to ship Thompson to the Milwaukee Buck for SG Khris Middleton.
While fans will be up in arms they must take a look at his track record.
Klay Thompson can shoot the Warriors in games but he can also shoot them out. He must improve on the games like he had Sunday when he shot 2-11 and 1-3 from three-point range. While those numbers were horrific, it’s also best to point out that he remained silent everywhere else. If you’re an All-Star player as he is and your shot isn’t falling you must find other ways to contribute. Thompson finished Sunday’s game with 3 assists, 4 rebounds, and 2 turnovers. However, this is nothing new as Klay has done this numerous times. He’s a one-trick pony. I love to watch him come off a screen and release a jumper but I cringe when he has to out the ball on the floor and create.
If the Golden StateWarriors are to extend their winning ways beyond 2017, their best bet is to make a move that involves shedding Thompson’s salary and John Stark-like disappearances.