Analysis: Klay, despite what he says, will have to sacrifice


Analysis: Klay, despite what he says, will have to sacrifice

It’s not often that Warriors star Klay Thompson says something that puts him at the center of discussion. The All-Star shooting guard has almost perfected the art of avoiding the provocative quote.

Not so on Monday night, when a comment attributed to Thompson made its way into a story on Yahoo’s "The Vertical" website and set off few alarms.

Addressing the addition of Kevin Durant to the Warriors, and what kind of impact he might make on his new teammates, Thompson responded thusly:

“I’m not sacrificing s---, because my game isn’t changing. I’m still going to try to get buckets, hit shots, come off screens. I want to win and have a fun time every game we play.”

[RELATED: Klay: With Durant, 'I'm not sacrificing; my game isn't changing']

If this comes off as Thompson being selfish, it’s because that’s the general reaction to an NBA player who says he’s not going to sacrifice. It sounds as if he’s unwilling to compromise for the sake of the team.

Such a comment, taken literally, would be uncharacteristic of Thompson. He does love his shots and he has a score-first mentality. Which, along with his remarkable long-distance shooting, have made him one of the league’s best players and a member of the U.S. Olympic team that opens play Saturday in Brazil.

Thompson will, despite what he says, have to sacrifice. He’s been sacrificing and will continue to do so because it’s part of any player’s evolution. It’s also a natural result of incorporating a new teammate that has such lofty status as Durant, a four-time scoring champ and seven-time All-Star.

All three of the Warriors’ incumbent All-Stars may sacrifice personal numbers in some way, but they’ll benefit in others. Steph Curry, Draymond Green and Thompson all will have an easier time getting open looks.

Curry, who last season led the NBA in scoring (30.1 points per game), likely won’t repeat the feat. But he is almost certain have more assists and probably a higher shooting percentage.

[RELATED: With Durant on board, Klay ready to sacrifice like Manu Ginobili]

Green, who last season led the Warriors in rebounding (9.5 per game) and assists (7.4), could have difficulty matching those numbers. But he likely will have a higher shooting percentage.

Thompson, who last season averaged a career-high 22.1 points per game, may for the first time not increase his year-over-year scoring average. But he almost certainly will shoot a higher percentage and post more assists.

Thompson still should average 15 to 18 shots a night, just as he has in each of the past three seasons. But the quality of those shots should, on the whole, be better. The only thing he must sacrifice, and he’s smart enough to do so, is the occasional irresponsible heave.

Expect Thompson’s game to remain mostly intact, just as the Warriors would want. He doesn’t need 30 shots – his season-high was 27. He’ll still chase buckets, but they’ll be a lot easier to find.

Durant’s presence will make the game easier for Thompson, just as it will for Curry and Green and any other Warrior on the court. Because Durant is such a transcendent scorer, his unselfishness is underplayed. He enjoys making the productive pass at least as much as he does the easy bucket. One of the reasons Durant chose the Warriors is because he wants to share the scoring load.

[POOLE: Durant, Curry and the Next Level Warriors already forming]

Thompson told The Vertical that in recent weeks he frequently is asked about he or his teammates having to give up shots, adding that he felt “disrespected” by the insinuation.

Durant apparently feels the same way.

“We want Klay to stay Klay,” Durant told The Vertical. “We don’t want him to change. The games dictate where the shots come from. I may shoot 12 shots one night; Klay may shoot eight or nine shots one night, and Steph may shoot 25 shots one night. And it could be a different flow another night.”

Given the way these four players approach the game – and their hunger for a championship – the Next Level Warriors will have to make some adjustments for each other. They did it before Durant joined them. They’ll do it now that he has.

Warriors' Steph Curry amazed by Andre Iguodala's stellar drive off tee

Warriors' Steph Curry amazed by Andre Iguodala's stellar drive off tee

“Did we just become best friends?”

Andre Iguodala and Steph Curry became inseparable almost instantly when Iggy joined the Warriors after the 2012-13 season. In addition to developing a strong chemistry on the court, the duo also shared a passion off the hardwood: golf.

Even after Iggy’s recent trade to Memphis, the two have obviously remained close friends and continue to hit the links together.

Curry made headlines in the golf world Monday when he announced he will be helping restart Howard University’s men’s and women’s golf programs for the next six years.

[RELATED: Steve Kerr reveals why Warriors trading Andre Iguodala devastated him]

Hopefully, Curry can find some new teammates to hit the course with him after Iguodala’s departure and Klay Thompson’s ACL injury.

How D'Angelo Russell impressed Warriors GM Bob Myers with his maturity

How D'Angelo Russell impressed Warriors GM Bob Myers with his maturity

When the Warriors acquired All-Star guard D'Angelo Russell from the Nets in a sign-and-trade this offseason, general manager Bob Myers knew much more about the player than the person. 

Myers knew his team was acquiring someone who can score in a hurry. He knew Golden State was getting a crafty lefty that can dish it and drain shots from deep. The more Myers has gotten to know Russell, the more he's excited for the future of the franchise. 

Russell and Myers recently met in New York, and the GM hit his new guard with some tough questions regarding his murky past as a Laker. 

"He said, 'In hindsight, maybe I wasn't ready for what was coming in L.A. with being the No. 2 pick.' A lot of people would blame everybody else and say it wasn't my fault, which I think showed a maturity," Myers said on The TK Show

Russell was involved in a public incident as a rookie with the Lakers where he recorded a video on Snapchat of teammate Nick Young admitting he cheated on his fiancée, Iggy Azalea. Though only has been in the NBA for four seasons, Russell's road has been a long one. 

Since being drafted in 2015, Russell has dealt with the pressure of being the No. 2 pick in L.A., the trials of the Young incident, being traded to Brooklyn, turning into an All-Star and now joining the Warriors. 

"For a guy that's pretty new in the league, he's been through more than most I'd say," Myers said. "Being a high pick, going to the Lakers, getting moved, going to Brooklyn ... the way he handled that, helping them ascend, kind of coming into his own." 

[RELATED: Myers explains what attracted Warriors to D'Angelo Russell]

Russell enjoyed his breakout year last season where he averaged 21.1 points and seven assists per game. Any GM would be glad to add that to his roster. After speaking with Russell, Myers couldn't be happier. 

"I'm happier now than I was even when we did it, knowing more about who he actually is," Myers said.