As the Warriors make an NBA playoff push, Mychal Thompson believes their latest loss to the Los Angeles Lakers showcased a problem that will haunt Golden State in the weeks to come.
Klay Thompson’s dad -- a two-time NBA champion himself -- joined KNBR’s “Murph & Mac” show, where he was asked Monday why the Warriors lost three of their four games against the Lakers this season following a 113-105 defeat Sunday at Crypto.com Arena.
“I’ve been talking about this all year long, but nobody wants to listen to me up there in the Bay,” Mychal Thompson said. “You’ve got to get bigger. Last night, it was old-school basketball -- the Lakers had this dominant guy [Anthony Davis] in the middle, and they used him. …
“Kevon Looney being the biggest guy for the Warriors could be a problem in the playoffs. Kevon plays his heart out, but sometimes the size can just wear you out in the paint, and if you’re going to beat the Warriors, you can’t outshoot them, so you’ve just got to go inside and try to beat them up in the paint.”
Thompson pointed out the league’s best bigs, such as Nikola Jokić and Joel Embiid, who provide an offensive spark while also serving as key defenders. The Warriors sought a power forward/center who could space the floor and make an impact in the paint at the NBA trade deadline last month, but to no avail -- leaving the 6-foot-9 JaMychal Green as backup “big” to similarly sized Looney.
But it has been clear for years that Warriors coach Steve Kerr is comfortable with a team that lacks traditional size, from the Death Lineup of the past to last season’s NBA championship small-ball approach that torched opposing teams.
In Thompson’s eyes, that strategy won’t work this season.
“You can’t drive your car looking in the rearview mirror,” Thompson said. “You’ve got to look in the windshield. This year, it looks like size is important. Yeah, they got away with it last year, but this year, it’s going to be tough.
“The Warriors scrap and play their hearts out, but since they’re so small, Steve Kerr’s got to emphasize everybody’s got to have a foot in the paint when the shot goes up. … Because as Pat Riley once said, ‘No rebounds, no rings.’ That holds true to this day.”
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It was thought that the Warriors might bring in size via the buyout market after trading away inexperienced 7-footer James Wiseman at the deadline, but it hasn’t happened. And as the Western Conference’s current No. 5 seed, with either the play-in tournament or a playoff berth on the horizon, only time will tell if Golden State’s lack of size will hold the team back from defending its NBA title.