Warriors

Anonymous Western Conference GM offers odd critique of Klay Thompson

Anonymous Western Conference GM offers odd critique of Klay Thompson

Now that the NBA's free-agency frenzy is over, all that's left is to see which teams made massive financial mistakes, and which secured their future by ponying up the big bucks for some star hoopers.

An unheard-of amount of cash was doled out once free agency opened, with a number of players being given max contracts for their services.

While most signings can be critiqued in one form or another, you'd expect most people would be on board with the Warriors' decision to give Klay Thompson the five-year, $190 million max contract. After all, if the Dubs had tried to offer the All-Star shooting guard a lighter contract, there were reports suggesting Thompson would shop his services around. 

Plus, the backcourt of Thompson and Steph Curry has been the most prolific shooting tandem in NBA history, so keeping that together had to be high on the Warriors' priority list.

But apparently, not everyone shares the thought that Thompson is a no-brainer max player.

Bleacher Report's Ric Bucher spoke with executives and scouts from around the league on the various players who were given max contracts this summer, and one Western Conference general manager apparently doesn't like how Thompson ... focuses on playing basketball?

"He's a good player, but he's not a leader," the Western Conference GM told Bucher about Thompson. "He just shows up and hoops."

Is this a gag quote?

First of all, Thompson is one of the most universally respected players in the NBA, and if you don't think watching the star gut through countless injuries -- including trying to play on a torn ACL in the NBA Finals -- is leadership then I shudder to think of what this GM's roster looks like. 

And yes, Thompson "just shows up and hoops." He gives you no distractions or headaches. He is an ultimate Warrior who truly loves to play the game of basketball.

[RELATED: Warriors must embrace new NBA reality after golden era]

That should be exactly what you want from a max player.

NBA predictions 2019-20: Steph Curry wins MVP, Lakers reclaim title

NBA predictions 2019-20: Steph Curry wins MVP, Lakers reclaim title

For the first time in five seasons, the NBA finds itself in new territory entering the 2019-20 season. 

No longer are the Warriors prohibitive favorites. League uncertainty, coupled with notable player movement across conferences, makes the upcoming season as unpredictable as it has been in recent years. 

Nevertheless, that doesn't stop one from predicting an uncertain season in the association. To get you ready for opening week, here are your predictions for the upcoming year.  

Defensive Player of the Year - Rudy Gobert

Gobert dominated defensively last season, ranking third in the league in blocks and held teams to just 45.2 percent from the field. Gobert's contribution's helped Utah rank second in the league in defensive efficiency. 

If Gobert were to win, he'd become just the second player to win three straight DPOY awards, joining Dwight Howard.

[RELATED: Draymond not focused on DPOY]

Rookie of the Year - Ja Morant

With Pelicans rookie Zion Williamson out six-to-eight weeks due to meniscus surger, Morant is in the driver's seat for the award. 

Morant -- who averaged 24.5 points, 10 assists and 6.5 rebounds in his sophomore year at Morgan State -- will be featured on a Grizzlies team in transition, having traded away franchise pillars Mike Conley and Marc Gasol in the last year. 

With that in mind, Morant will have ample opportunities to show his ability this season. 

MVP - Stephen Curry

With Kevin Durant gone to Brooklyn, and Klay Thompson not expected back this season, most of the offensive burden will fall on Curry. 

Curry has shown to be worthy to carry the offensive torch. In 2016, Curry had the highest player efficiency rating since 1991, while leading the league in 3-pointers made (402), steals (169), win-shares (17.9) and value over replacement (9.8) while finishing second in usage.

The key to Curry's season will be his health. Over the last two seasons, Curry has missed a combined 44 games due to injury, including 31 during the 2017-18 season. Last season, it was a non-contact groin injury that forced the guard to miss more than two weeks.

[RELATED: MJ claims Steph not a HOFer 'yet']

Most Improved Player - Lonzo Ball

During his first two seasons in the league with the Lakers, Ball struggled through injuries, expectations of Los Angeles, and ongoing litigation centered around his company Big Baller Brand. 

Now, in New Orleans, he is far away from the distractions, and is alongside a healthy young cast featuring Brandon Ingram and Williamson. If Ball can recapture the magic that made him a No. 2 overall pick, the Pelicans could be a fringe playoff team. 

Sixth Man - Lou Williams

At this point, Williams is like Nicki Minaj at the BET Awards in the late 2010s. If he is on the floor, an award is expected to come his way. 

Last season, he won his second straight award (and third overall), averaging 20 points, three rebounds and five assists. In the playoffs, he helped the Clippers push Golden State to six games in their first-round NBA playoff matchup. 

This season, Williams is expected to play starters minutes off the bench, giving yet another opportunity for the veteran the claim an award that should be named after him when its all said and done. 

Coach of the Year - Doc Rivers 

Last season, despite the Clippers trading away Tobias Harris -- the team's leading scorer -- Los Angeles surprisingly won 48 games and nearly eliminated Golden State in the first round. 

Now, with Kawhi Leonard and Paul George on the roster, Rivers is expected to lead the current roster to a title. 

Rivers has experience coaching stars, having led the 2008 Celtics -- featuring Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen -- to a title, earning COY honors along the way.

Best Record - Milwaukee Bucks

The best way to quiet the noise of Giannis Antetokounmpo's pending free-agency will be to get off to a hot start. 

Milwaukee has the team to do it, with shooters like Kyle Korver, Brook Lopez and Wes Matthews to spread the floor around the Greek Freak. 

Antetokounmpo, months removed from winning his first MVP, should be primed for a run at another award.

[RELATED: Steph 'optimistic' about Warriors in 2019]

NBA Champs - Los Angeles Lakers

With a historic offseason, the Lakers seem to have their most balanced team in years on paper. The tandem of LeBron James and Anthony Davis should help with the bulk of the offensive output. 

The signings of Avery Bradley and Danny Green give Los Angeles top-level defenders, a welcome sign for a team that finished in the middle of the league in defensive rating last season.

But the key will be James, who is entering his 17th season on Tuesday evening. With Golden State no longer a contender, he should push to his first title since 2016.

Programming Note: Get ready for the 2019-20 Warriors and Kings seasons with the NBA Tip-Off Show, streaming live on the MyTeams app at 1 p.m. PT on Tuesday, Oct. 22. Download MyTeams and tune in to the show by clicking here!

Klay Thompson 'unlikely' to play for Warriors this season, Steve Kerr reveals

Klay Thompson 'unlikely' to play for Warriors this season, Steve Kerr reveals

Ever since Klay Thompson tore his left ACL four months ago, the Warriors guard has held out hope that he could return this season in time for a potential NBA playoff run.

His coach, however, isn't betting on that timeline.

"It's unlikely that he's going to play this year," Steve Kerr recently told NBC Sports Bay Area in an exclusive interview that will air at 1 p.m. PT Tuesday in “NBA Season Tip-Off,” only on the MyTeams app. "So we have to understand that."

Thompson, who suffered the knee injury during Game 6 of the NBA Finals, had surgery July 2, and has said he hopes to play after the NBA All-Star break in February. Recent history, however, suggests that might not be possible.

Chicago Bulls guard Zach LaVine sat out 11 months with a similar injury, and Atlanta Hawks forward Jabari Parker missed nearly a year. Kerr, who tore his ACL in college, believes Thompson will be on the same timeline as those players.

"You have to look at it realistically," the Warriors coach said. "I had an ACL [tear] in college, and I missed a whole season. Generally, an ACL for a basketball player is a full-year recovery, and if it's a full year for Klay, that puts them out for the season.

“We've kind of left the door open in case the rehab goes perfectly and the doctors say he can go. But the reality is, on April 1, that’s the nine-month mark. ... April versus nine months post-op for an ACL.

"We have to prepare our young guys to fill that role behind him, and when he gets back, whenever that is, hopefully these young guys now are developed and in the rotation and ready to really be contributors on a playoff team and we can get better," Kerr added.

Thompson has been visible around the team in recent weeks. Following Sunday's practice, he stood along the baseline as players wrapped up individual workouts. Thompson hasn’t missed more than nine games in an NBA season, so the prolonged absence has been an adjustment for him.

"He's bored," Kerr said. "I mean, Klay loves basketball, he loves to play, so he's at the point in his rehab, three-plus months in, where his knee feels pretty good. He's not in pain. He can get out there and shoot around, but he's got to let it heal, and he can't run, he can't cut. So we'll see him in the weight room, in the training room, getting his work in.

“But I feel bad for him. You never feel part of it unless you're actually playing and with the guys, and he misses that."

[RELATED: Steph knows he has no room for error with Klay out]

Kerr and the Warriors find themselves in transition entering this season. With Thompson's absence, along Kevin Durant and Andre Iguodala's departure and eight new roster additions, Kerr is adjusting to Golden State's new life in the NBA.

“It's very different," Kerr admitted. "There's a lot more teaching this year than there has been in the last five. Things that the last group would have known in their sleep, these young guys have never seen before, and so we are literally going back to the basics day in and day out."

Programming Note: Get ready for the 2019-20 Warriors and Kings seasons with "NBA Season Tip-Off," streaming live on the MyTeams app at 1 p.m. PT on Tuesday, Oct. 22. Download MyTeams and tune in to the show by clicking here!