Warriors

Analysis: With Durant, Warriors will be different, but better

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Analysis: With Durant, Warriors will be different, but better

Programming note: Watch Kevin Durant's introductory press conference today at 1:30pm on CSN Bay Area, and STREAMING LIVE right here.

The Takeover has been a staple of the Warriors’ rise in recent years, with Steph Curry or Klay Thompson or Draymond Green going nuclear to put his stamp on a moment or a quarter to bury an opponent.

It’s part of The Show that is the Warriors. It’s the highlight. Fans jamming themselves into Oracle Arena do so as much to glimpse The Takeover as to experience the victory that follows, much as a boxing crowd yearns not to see a decision but to witness a knockout.

That won’t change Thursday, when Kevin Durant is introduced as the newest Warrior, his signature on a contract signaling an epic change for the team that entertained global observers while winning 140 games over the past two seasons and a record 73 in 2015-16.

Assuming good health, the regular-season wins total will be similar, high-60s to low-70s. Offensive efficiency will improve. So should rebounding, and the defensive numbers will be very good.

What will change, however, are the individual statistics of Curry, Thompson and Green.

The Splash Brothers now have a third sibling, which logic dictates is a benefit to all. And Green, a gold-plated toolbox of a player, will have another toy.

[RELATED: Warriors to introduce Kevin Durant on Thursday]

Though Curry’s scoring average will drop from a career-high 30.1 and he’s not likely to repeat as scoring champ, his shooting percentage should rise as defenses scramble to monitor Durant and Thompson. Curry’s assist totals, which have declined in each of the past two seasons, should go back up.

Life will be easier for Curry, and he’ll still have plenty of opportunities to transcend. The Steph Takeover is going nowhere.

Thompson’s scoring average, which has gone up in each of his five seasons and was 22.1 last season, almost certainly will decline. As the man most likely to break to offense with a questionable shot, he’ll have operate more judiciously. He will, as he knows Curry is not the only teammate that can demoralize defenses with shooting. The quality of Thompson’s shots will get better, and he’ll make them at a higher percentage. He’ll handle the ball a lot less, which is a good thing.

Life will be easier for Thompson, too, because he’ll prosper from the KD effect. And nobody is a better catch-and-shoot scorer than Klay Thompson. The Klay Takeover happens several times a season – the last one being a memorable Game 6 in the Western Conference Finals. There is no reason to expect that to change.

Green has the amazing ability to provide whatever it is the Warriors need most. He observes and responds. Need assists? Love it. Need scoring? OK. Need rebounding? That’s what he does. Green led the Warriors in assists and rebounding. Curry will threaten his assist numbers, and Durant is vastly superior rebounder to the departing Harrison Barnes.

The Draymond Takeover is the most variable of all, as Green can punish defenses as much with his will as with his skill, whether it’s rebounding and running one-man fast breaks or carving up defenses with artful passing. Nobody’s game, not even Curry’s should benefit more from the acquisition of Durant.

The KD Takeover is, well, both unfair and inevitable because Durant can take over a game as well as anyone, including Curry. At 6-foot-10, with the full offensive arsenal – he generates quality shots off the dribble or off the catch, operates well out of the high or low post and passes nearly as well as Green – no one in the NBA is tougher to defend.

When Durant is on fire, defenders are ambient noise. He’ll be given room to operate, more than he’s ever known; that’s one of the reasons he’s joining the Warriors.

The KD Takeover will be on display come October, and having it available is why the Warriors can become the most lethal offensive club in NBA history.

For those wondering if there will be enough balls to go around, Durant has spent the bulk of his career playing with Russell Westbrook, who dominates the ball as much as anyone not named James Harden.

Coming to an offense that believes in ball movement and rhythm, this will be an exceedingly welcome change for Durant.

Mychal Thompson wants Klay to emulate James Harden in one aspect in 2018-19

Mychal Thompson wants Klay to emulate James Harden in one aspect in 2018-19

Klay Thompson is a well-rounded, versatile player. He shot 52.6 percent from 2-point range last season. He shot 44 percent from 3-point range. He made 83.7 percent of his free throws. He averaged 2.5 assists per game. He's the Warriors' best perimeter defender.

There's not a noticeable weakness to his game.

But his father Mychal spoke to the San Francisco Chronicle's Scott Ostler on Saturday to talk about what kind of differences we'll see in Klay will be during the 2018-19 season and he shared the goal he's set for his son.

"I think you'll see a hungrier player. He's going to try to get more versatile, try to get to the basket a little more, more free throws, being more efficient on offense that way. I always tell him, try to make it a goal to shoot eight (free throws) a game. Eight or 10, like James Harden does," Mychal Thompson told Ostler.

Thompson attempted a career low 1.3 free throw attempts last season. His high-water mark was 3.3 free throw attempts per game during the 2014-15 season. By comparison, Harden attempted 10.1 free throw attempts last season and has surpassed 10 attempts per game in five of the last six seasons.

Of course, the elder Thompson was asked about his son's free agency next summer. Klay told the Bay Area News Group on Saturday that he wants to remain with the Warriors for the rest of his career. His father said the same thing at the Thompson Family Foundation's charity golf tournament on Saturday.

“Oh yeah, you can mark it down. Klay’s going to retire in the Warriors’ uniform. He’s going to play at Chase Center (the Warriors’ new arena, opening in 2019), and he’s not going to be at Chase Center as a visiting player, he’s going to be a Warrior for the next seven or eight years," Mychal said according to The Chronicle.

Klay Thompson addresses impending free agency: 'Number one on my list...'

Klay Thompson addresses impending free agency: 'Number one on my list...'

Editor's Note: The above video is from June 6, 2018, after the Warriors beat the Cavs in Game 3 in the NBA Finals.

With the 2018 offseason wrapping up, the talk surrounding the Warriors will shift to next summer's free agency of All-Star shooting guard Klay Thompson.

Thompson and his father Mychal have said several times during the last few months (see above video) that their intention is stay with the Warriors long-term. But that's not stopping speculation that the seven-year veteran may bolt the Warriors following his eighth season.

On Saturday night, Thompson reiterated his desire to remain with the Warriors in an interview with the Bay Area News Group.

“I’ve said it many times before: I would like to be a Warrior for life. Contract negotiations are way down the line. But I think we all have the same interest. I would love to be here for the rest of my career,” Thompson told Mark Medina.

Pressed on the possibility of signing an extension with the Warriors before he hits the open market, Thompson left the door slightly ajar by offering this:

“It’s tough to say. I’d definitely be interested. But at the end of the day, I’m going to be a free agent in 2019. Number one on my list would obviously be to stay with the Warriors,” Thompson told Medina.

Thompson is entering the final season of a four-year, $68.97 million contract. He will make $18,988 million for the 2018-19 season.