Warriors

Why Warriors prefer Klay Thompson over Paul George

Why Warriors prefer Klay Thompson over Paul George

Once again, the Warriors chose Klay Thompson over another All-Star.

This time, it was the Indiana Pacers who came knocking in search of Thompson.

And Paul George, speaking Thursday on the podcast of venerable NBA reporter Adrian Wojnarowski, confirmed that he was the bait.

The Warriors, of course, did not bite. They have their reasons.

Before trading the four-time All-Star to the Thunder on June 30, the Pacers shopped George around the league in hopes of making the best deal. George can become a free agent next summer, and he announced plans to leave Indiana. The Southern California native previously had made it clear that he’d like to land with the Lakers.

He instead got Russell Westbrook and Oklahoma City, at least partly because the Warriors rebuffed Indiana’s overtures.

"Yeah, I was aware of it,” George said of the proposed deal involving Thompson. “I would have looked forward to it of just being able to be in a good situation and a chance to compete for a championship. It didn't happen. It's still fun to team up with a special talent and have a chance to compete against that team."

So why would the Warriors turn down an opportunity to add George to a group that would include Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant and Draymond Green? There are no fewer than three rational reasons.

First and foremost, it would come at the expense of Thompson, a three-time All-Star they drafted in 2011. The Warriors value Thompson as much -- if not more -- for his defense than his prolific scoring. They consider him the perfect partner for Curry, who benefits from Thompson’s floor-stretching ability on one end and his defensive qualities on the other.

George would have to play guard, and the 6-foot-9 forward wouldn’t be able to defend the perimeter players to which the Warriors assign Thompson.

Second, George needs the ball and Thompson doesn’t. Thompson needed only 11 dribbles to score 60 points in three quarters -- and had the ball for a total of 90 seconds. George might dribble 11 times in five minutes.

The questions about whether Durant’s game could exist within the framework of the Warriors were not legitimate. Any questions about whether George’s game could do so are profoundly legitimate.

Third, the prevailing opinion George is he will land with the Lakers, the team he grew up rooting for largely because of a player, Kobe Bryant, that George idolized.

How could the Warriors, no matter how confident they are in the seductive qualities of their culture, reconcile swapping two more years of a player they know for one year of one they don’t?

It was three years ago that the Timberwolves and the Warriors discussed a trade involving Kevin Love and Thompson. The Warriors considered it, but the brain trust was divided. Coach Steve Kerr and then-adviser Jerry West -- after watching video of Love on defense -- were vehement in their support of keeping Thompson. The Warriors walked away.

They have no regrets.

This time, the Warriors most assuredly didn’t reach the point of serious consideration.

George, for his part, doesn’t think it would have mattered, that the league would have stepped in to block a deal that would have sent him to the NBA champs.

“Yeah I think that would have been the Chris Paul to LA (Lakers) situation, where they denied that trade,” he said, referencing then-commissioner David Stern’s block of a deal that would have sent Paul from the Hornets to the Lakers.

For what it’s worth, the Paul-to-the-Lakers deal, in 2011, was easier to kill because the league already had taken temporary ownership of the Hornets.

Gameday: How the well-rested Nets will test the Durant-less Warriors

Gameday: How the well-rested Nets will test the Durant-less Warriors

Roughly 20 hours after winning in Philadelphia, the Warriors on Sunday take their act to Barclays Center in Brooklyn, where they’ll be without Kevin Durant as they try to sweep a back-to-back set for the first time this season.

Coverage on NBC Sports Bay Area begins at 2pm, with tipoff scheduled for 3:05pm.

It’s the third back-to-back set of the season for the Warriors (12-4), who have split the first two. This one follows a stirring comeback victory over the 76ers on Saturday and it comes against a Nets team sure to test their endurance.

That test is automatically tougher with Durant, who scored scored 27 points against Philly but will be sidelined Sunday with an ankle sprain.

Brooklyn (6-9) is playing without two guards who figured prominently in their plans, as both Jeremy Lin and D’Angelo Russell are out with injuries.

BETTING LINE:
Warriors by 11

MATCHUP TO WATCH:
Stephen Curry vs. Spencer Dinwiddie. Curry broke out his mini-slump in the third quarter Saturday in Philly, scoring 20 points on 6-of-7 shooting, including 4-of-4 from deep. He’ll see plenty of Dinwiddie, whose wingspan approaches 6-9. Starting in place of the injured D’Angelo Russell, Dinwiddie has become a solid catalyst for Brooklyn’s fast-paced offense. His 5.57-1 assist-to-turnover ratio leads all NBA point guards. If he plays exceptionally well, the Nets may have a legitimate chance.

INJURY REPORT:
Warriors: F Kevin Durant (L ankle sprain) is listed as out. C Damian Jones is on assignment with the G-League Santa Cruz Warriors.

Nets: G Jeremy Lin (ruptured patellar tendon) and G D’Angelo Russell (L knee surgery) are listed as out.

GAME OFFICIALS:
Kane Fitzgerald (crew chief), Ben Taylor and Scott Wall.

LAST 10:
Warriors: 8-2, Nets: 3-7.

SERIES HISTORY:
The Warriors swept two games against Brooklyn in each of the last two seasons and have won 14 of the last 19 overall.

THREE THINGS TO WATCH:
THE GAS TANK: After expending a lot of energy in wiping out a 24-point second-half deficit against the 76ers, the Warriors now confront the NBA’s most hyperactive team. Brooklyn leads the league in pace for the second consecutive season under coach Kenny Atkinson. The Nets are rested and they want to run. With the Warriors shorthanded and coming off a game on the previous night, Brooklyn will push at every opportunity.

TRUST THE D: The Nets rank second in field-goal attempts but 25th in field-goal percentage and 26th in 3-point percentage. They rely on volume to stay in games, and sometimes it’s enough. The Warriors, with the exception of the first half on Saturday, have tightened their defense and now rank fifth in defensive rating. They may have to go deep into the bench, but they’re defense should hold up.

THE GLASS WAR: On sheer rebounding numbers the Warriors and Nets are about equal, thanks largely to Brooklyn ranking second behind Phoenix in both field-goal attempts and missed shots. Where the Warriors separate is in rebounding percentage, where they rank sixth and Brooklyn is 25th. If the Warriors can stay even on the glass against a team that also is comfortable playing “small,” it likely will be enough to put them over the top.

Joel Embiid 'likes' Kevin Durant's postgame comments

Joel Embiid 'likes' Kevin Durant's postgame comments

Joel Embiid is an all-time great when it comes to his use of social media.

His ability to troll his opponents and victims is unmatched.

And as Kevin Durant revealed after a huge comeback win over the 76ers on Saturday night, the Warriors didn't want to be the subject of Embiid's Twitter wrath.

"We wanted to win this game really, really bad. After being down by so much, we didn't want to lose to these guys, especially Joel. He woulda gone straight to Twitter and started talking s***," Durant told reporters after the game.

Embiid hasn't posted anything on Twitter or Instagram since Saturday's game ended, but a quick look at his Twitter Likes shows that the 76ers' center liked the video of Durant's comments.

With their 124-116 comeback win on Saturday, the Warriors swept the two-game season series from Embiid and the 76ers.