Klay Thompson: 'I worked harder this summer because...'


Klay Thompson: 'I worked harder this summer because...'

Last season, Klay Thompson was an All-Star for the third straight year.

He had a fantastic season.

And after capturing his second title in three years, he didn't rest on his laurels this summer.

"I worked harder this summer because I know how many more teams are gunning for that title," Thompson said at Media Day last Friday. "Everyone wants to see the Warriors lose now. Which is fine. It's a great position to be in when you're probably the most hated team in the league ... we embrace it...

"These teams aren't just sitting back and waiting for something to happen. They're being active out there in the market, and you gotta respect that ... it's crazy -- the West just got stronger. But it will be fun.

"Like I said, teams aren't waiting for something to happen. They're not waiting to get lucky. They're doing something about it and we take notice. And that keeps us on the edge and it doesn't allow us to rest one bit."

The 27-year old averaged 22.3 points, 3.7 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game last year, while shooting just under 47 percent from the field, 41.4 percent from deep and 85.3 percent from the free throw line.

"I can always be more efficient," Thompson said. "I know Steph and KD have hit the 50-40-90 mark so I'd like to join that club with them. That would be sweet."

In 2015-16, Steph Curry shot 50.4 percent overall, 45.4 percent from 3-point territory and 90.8 percent from the charity stripe.

In 2012-13, Kevin Durant shot 51 percent overall, 41.6 percent from 3-point territory and 90.5 percent from the charity stripe.

After practice on Monday, Thompson was asked about working on his off-the-dribble shot.

"I'm just trying to tighten my handle as much as I can. Play within tight spaces, because my catch-and-shoot ability will always be there," Thompson told reporters. "Trying to tighten up other parts of my game."

Thompson made over 43.3 percent (244-for-563) of his catch-and-shoot 3-pointers last year, compared to just 28.9 percent (24-for-83) of his pull-up treys.

The year prior, his splits were 44 percent (237-for-539) on catch-and-shoot 3s and 35.8 percent (38-for-106) on pull-up 3s.

In 2014-15: 46.5 percent (174-for-374) on catch-and-shoot and 39.9 percent (61-for-153) on pull-up.

Drew Shiller is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders and a Web Producer at NBC Sports Bay Area. Follow him on Twitter @DrewShiller

Banged up Warriors won't have back-up point guard vs Lakers


Banged up Warriors won't have back-up point guard vs Lakers

The Warriors are banged up. Really, really banged up.

Point guard Steph Curry, power forward Draymond Green and center Zaza Pachulia have all been ruled out for Monday's game against the Lakers.

And now Curry's back-up won't play Monday. Guard Shaun Livingston has been ruled out due to a knee injury, head coach Steve Kerr announced to reporters after practice on Sunday.

With Livingston and Curry out, Quinn Cook and Patrick McCaw will handle a bulk of the ball-handling responsibilities.

"Gotta be as beaten up as we've ever been since I've been here. I don't remember having this many guys out, particularly starters, so it's all part of it. We've handled it well, obviously and it's created some opporunities for other guys that they've taken advantage of," Kerr said Sunday in Oakland.

Nick Young, who missed the last game with a concussion, is expected to play Monday.

Warriors embrace playing second fiddle to Kobe for one final night


Warriors embrace playing second fiddle to Kobe for one final night

OAKLAND -- The NBA’s No. 1 road attraction will be reduced to fine print on the marquee Monday night in Los Angeles.

Sure, the house will be packed when the Warriors invade Staples Center. It’s the hottest ticket in the league this season, a gala evening that undoubtedly will receive Hollywood embellishments, searchlights for sure and maybe even a red carpet.

It’s Kobe Bryant Night at Staples Center. Both of the legend’s jersey numbers, 24 and 8, are being retired. So while the Warriors are there for the business of defeating the current Lakers, they’ll also be carrying memories of the past.

Win or lose, they will have a chance to enjoy the halftime ceremony. Lakers president Jeanie Buss extended the invitation Saturday, and Warriors coach Steve Kerr plans to accept it.

“I want our guys to see it,” Kerr said Saturday. “It’ll be a pretty cool moment.

“Just to experience of one of the greatest players in the history of the game getting his jersey retired and we happen to be there? I’m not going to keep them in the locker room watching tape from the first half. The players would look at me like I was nuts.”

Said Nick Young, a former teammate Bryant with the Lakers, of witnessing the ceremony: “That would be dope.”

Most of the Warriors have competed against Bryant, though Kevin Durant and Young have closer associations. Bryant and Durant over time formed a relationship as members of the league’s unofficial superstar club.

Durant has a particularly bittersweet memory from his rookie season with the Seattle SuperSonics in 2007-08, the year Bryant captured his only MVP award.

The Lakers took a 123-121 victory in overtime in Seattle and Durant’s memory of Bryant’s evening -- 48 points, 44 field-goal attempts, game-winning shot -- were perfect. Yet Durant came away feeling he had learned a more valuable lesson.

“It was my first taste of fourth-quarter basketball in the NBA, and (Bryant) fouled me all of the way up until I got the ball,” Durant recalled. “It was a blatant foul, and the referee just stared at him, looked at him, and didn’t call it. I was like, that’s what happens when you’re Kobe and you can do that stuff.

“It was a level I knew I had to get to, and that’s what made me realize that there’s certain players on different levels, and that you have to wait to get to that point. It made me realize it early with Kobe. So it was a great early lesson for me.”

Young, who spent three seasons as Bryant’s teammate in LA, recalled Bryant’s pointed jabs at teammates, unwillingness to tolerate fools and a semi-playful side of the man nicknamed Mamba.

After Bryant’s memorable final game -- a 60-point performance in a 101-96 win over the Jazz on April 13, 2016 -- Young approached Bryant with a pair shoes in hopes of getting an autograph. They were the wrong brand.

Kobe was a Nike guy, Young came with Adidas.

Bryant flipped the shoes into the trash bin.

“That’s Kobe,” Young said, grinning. “I knew something like that was going to happen if I went to him with some Adidas.

“But he did sign some Nikes that I had. And I have that stat sheet.”

Durant, having joined the MVP club in 2014, saw his relationship evolve to the point where they were dinner companions on Bryant’s last trip to Oklahoma City in 2016.

“The stuff we were talking about was next level, just what he wanted to do when he was done playing, his visions as a businessman, how he wanted to leave his mark as a basketball ambassador,” Durant recalled. “There was so much we talked about, and it made me appreciate his intelligent mind.”

Bryant retired as the league’s No. 3 all-time scorer (33,643 points), just ahead of Michael Jordan (32,292) but behind Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (38,387) and Karl Malone (36,928). Bryant is a five-time NBA champion who was selected for 18 All-Star games. He is a lock to enter the Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility.

And now, 20 months after he retired, his jerseys will be raised into the rafters at Staples Center.

“Kobe is obviously one of my favorite players, one of the best players to play this game,” Young said. “I know I had a chance to play with him, so I would want to see his number go up there.”

For one night, as a retired legend gets top billing, the Warriors don’t mind merely blending into the scenery.