Warriors

Warriors realize Klay Thompson's skill, fit, heart worthy of max contract

Warriors realize Klay Thompson's skill, fit, heart worthy of max contract

Imagine the Warriors’ brain trust sitting in a conference room discussing free agency plans. They debate needs, which players to target, how much money to spend and length of contract.

They also ask the most important question of all: How will he fit in our culture?

Klay Thompson fits like a perfect pair of sunglasses.

The kind of shades that, if they were lost, would be so badly missed that it would result in forming a search party with the mission of finding an exact duplicate.

There never was a moment’s doubt that the Warriors would do all they could to retain Thompson. CEO Joe Lacob and chief partner Peter Guber haven’t pushed the franchise to unprecedented heights by skimping on the talent.

When it was time, two years ago, to pay Stephen Curry the supermax, negotiation was not required.

The same applies now that it’s time to pay Thompson the max. The Warriors, according to league sources, will offer $190 million because it’s the surest way to keep the All-Star shooting guard with the franchise for another five years.

Agreeing to sign, probably on the first available day (July 6), is an easy call for Klay, who has expressed a desire to spend his entire career with the only organization he has ever known.

In the years since they drafted Thompson 11th overall in 2012, the Warriors have come to know him as redoubtable and reliable, with the skills and passion to excel on offense and defense. His two head coaches in the NBA, Mark Jackson and Steve Kerr, both describe Thompson as zero maintenance.

There never have been questions about Thompson’s dedication, the perfect illustration of which came in Game 6 of the NBA Finals, when he tore his left ACL and tried to jog it away in hopes of returning to the game.

On such an accomplished squad, with so many stars, some of whom put forth conditions, Thompson asks only a chance to play. Great teams place a value on that.

There are times when he lives up to his reputation of being “thirsty” for shots, but the Warriors have learned to live with that, knowing that a Klay Thompson scoring binge is like nothing else in the league, breathtaking and mesmerizing, automation in human form.

[RELATED: How Warriors' roster ideally should look after free agency]

Thompson’s injury, which will require at least eight months of rehab, changed nothing from the Warriors’ point of view. They already had decided to offer the max, and they weren’t about to renege in front of that locker room or in this league. The commitment stayed in place.

The same soon will be said of Thompson. He’ll be a Warrior for the foreseeable future. As he wanted and deserves. The professional element of life gets no better than receiving the highest salary available in the workplace of one’s choice.

Warriors takeaways: What we learned in 108-100 loss to depleted Pelicans

Warriors takeaways: What we learned in 108-100 loss to depleted Pelicans

BOX SCORE

Coming into town to face an injury-depleted team on the second night of a back-to-back set, the Warriors appeared to be in reasonably good position win their third game of the season.

Instead, they took their 12th defeat – and seventh in a row.

The Warriors, nearly as diminished by injuries, took a tip-to-buzzer 108-100 loss to the Pelicans on Sunday night at Smoothie King Center in New Orleans.

Four players scored in double figures, led by Eric Paschall’s game-high 30 points, but the Warriors (2-12) were outrebounded and outshot, particularly from the 3-point line by the Pelicans (3-10).

Here are three takeaways from a defeat that saddled the Warriors with their longest losing streak since they dropped eight straight in April 2012:

Defense rests, is burned by triples

The Warriors displayed signs of coming out of their defensive malaise in taking the Celtics down to the wire two nights ago. Outrebounding Boston allowed them to better set up their defense, and the results were encouraging.

That level of defensive aggression and execution didn’t make the trip to New Orleans.

The Warriors were particularly vulnerable defending the 3-point arc.

The Pelicans, who entered as the fifth-best 3-point shooting team the league, took advantage, launching at will. They drained nine triples in the first half, as JJ Redick, one of the more proficient deep shooters in NBA history and undoubtedly on the scouting report, repeatedly got open looks and buried five 3-balls before halftime. He scored a team-high 26 points.

That New Orleans shot 39.1 percent (18-of-46) from deep is clear evidence that any defensive progress displayed by the Warriors two days earlier against a quality opponent went into deep regression against an inferior team.

More points for Paschall

With D’Angelo Russell out of the lineup, the Warriors have an urgent need for scoring. Enter Eric Paschall.

On a night when offense was hard to come by, Paschall kept the Warriors in the game early, with 24 points through the first three quarters, when no other Warrior had more than 11.

Operating both inside and outside, Paschall’s 30 points came on 10-of-17 shooting, including 2-of-4 from beyond the arc. He also was 8-of-10 from the free throw line. Playing 35 minutes, he also grabbed seven rebounds.

Paschall now has two games with at least 30 points, four with at least 20 and nine in which he scored in double figures.

The powerfully built rookie is, at this point, the team’s most effective scorer. In effect, he has become the Warriors’ go-to guy.

[RELATED: Draymond, Bowman to take over while Russell is out]

Waiting for Jordan

The Warriors drafted Jordan Poole in the first round June believing he had the goods to become their next great deep shooter. His work in the preseason did little to argue against that.

But it’s not happening in the regular season, and this night was the latest in an ever-extending line of futile performances.

Coming off the bench for the second consecutive game, Poole was scoreless over 23 minutes, with 0-of-7 shooting from the field, including 0-of-3 from beyond the arc.

If ever there was a game when his scoring touch was desperately needed – and surely would have made a difference – this was it.

Warriors to use Ky Bowman, Draymond Green in D'Angelo Russell's place

Warriors to use Ky Bowman, Draymond Green in D'Angelo Russell's place

The Warriors got some bad news when D'Angelo Russell's MRI confirmed a sprained right thumb that will keep him out of the lineup for at least two weeks, but their coach actually was a bit relieved.

"I was concerned that it was going to be worse," Steve Kerr told the media Saturday, "so a couple weeks, you know, we can handle. If this had been something more severe, we would have been in some real trouble. So, we'll deal with it and I'm glad it's not worse. We look forward to getting him back, but in the meantime, we've got four games on the road. We've got to figure out a way to hold down the fort."

Golden State will play the first of those four consecutive road games Sunday in New Orleans against the short-handed Pelicans, and Kerr has a plan for how the Warriors will fill the point guard spot in Russell's absence.

"Draymond [Green] will play a lot of point, and Ky [Bowman] will have the ball in his hands quite a bit," Kerr said. "We're down to nine players, and really only two real guards I would say, with Jordan [Poole] and Ky. So our wings are going to have to handle the ball quite a bit, and Draymond is really good in a facilitating role anyway, so Draymond will handle the ball quite a bit."

Bowman, who is on a two-way contract, didn't seem phased by the promotion.

"I just go out there and play my role," Bowman said. "That's scoring, that's defense ... just play my role."

The Warriors didn't expect to rely on Bowman as much as they have in the early part of the season, but they've had to out of necessity with the injuries to Russell, Steph Curry and Klay Thompson. Despite being a consistent member of the rotation, he conceded that people ask him more about his teammates than his own experience.

"What are the players like, really," Bowman replied when questioned as to what fans ask him. "What is Draymond like. That's what everybody wants to know."

[RELATED: Slew of Warriors’ injuries hinders young core’s development]

Perhaps they'll have some different questions for him over the next couple weeks.