Warriors

Yet again, Draymond suffocates Blake Griffin to the point of visible despair

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AP

Yet again, Draymond suffocates Blake Griffin to the point of visible despair

The debate over which members of the Warriors is most valuable to the team rages on, as it should, and a strong case can be made for all four of their All-Stars.

There is no dispute, however, which Warrior is most valuable whenever they come upon the Los Angeles Clippers.

It’s Draymond Green, because he practically owns the space inside the head of LA star Blake Griffin. And without a very good Griffin the Clippers are a very average NBA team.

The latest example came Monday night, when Green suffocated Griffin to the point of visible despair, allowing the Warriors to run off with a 141-113 victory at Staples Center for their 11th consecutive win over the Clippers.

Since Green took over as the starting power forward, LA is 1-12 against the Warriors, and the formula has been much as it was Monday night at Staples Center.

If Griffin wasn’t dribbling into the teeth of the reigning Defensive Player of the Year and forcing up an awkward shot, he was surrendering the ball to his teammates in what looked suspiciously like a passive form of panic.

We’ve seen it before when Griffin meets Green, even if Clippers coach Doc Rivers missed it Monday night.

“I thought he was aggressive,” Rivers said of Griffin after the game. “I just thought they attacked him. They doubled. I thought our spacing was poor. I didn’t think we helped Blake a lot with our spacing.”

There was some doubling, yes, but more often than not Griffin found himself caught the single vise between Green’s thumb and forefinger.

The man who was generating early MVP talk when LA opened the season with four consecutive wins took a season-low 10 shots, finishing with a season-low 16 points and a season-low three rebounds.

Furthermore, Griffin committed a season-high four turnovers and was whistled for a season-high four fouls. He was minus-23 for the game.

It was a mess of a game for Griffin, and typical of his play against Green. Even Rivers eventually came around to the obvious, without mentioning names.

“If you don’t trust your offense and move the ball, you become stagnant,” he said. “And that’s when their offense takes off, because you get frustrated on your end.”

That was Griffin on Monday. Stagnant. Frustrated. A different guy than he has been through the first five games. It happens every time he faces the Warriors, which means facing Green.

Green, by contrast, had a strong game at both ends: 16 points, nine rebounds, six assists, two steals and one block. He was plus-18.

More important, the Warriors once again routed the Clippers. Not much will change unless Griffin finds a way to get Green out of his head.

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.