Klay Thompson has been linked with the Warriors for a few weeks now, since Jerry West watched him in Los Angeles and vouched for him to Warriors management. But Friday, Klay got a chance to workout in front of co-owner Joe Lacob, new coach Mark Jackson and the entire Warriors’ basketball operations staff.
How’d he do?
SAID ONE ONLOOKER: “Good. Really good. No surprise.”
Klay did what he’s been doing for weeks now – stroking it from the perimeter and showing some offensive versatility. And clearly, before he even steps on the floor, his size is attractive. His pre-draft measurements were 6-foot-7, 206 pounds. Looking at him, he is a legit 6-foot-6 with nice length to him. Doesn’t look strong or athletic, but his frame is promising.
No doubt, the Warriors like him. (They made it kind of obvious by the mere presence of basically the entire front office). Obviously, they like his shooting. But as one person told me, his feel for the game and touch separate him from other shooters in the draft.
THOMPSON: “It would be amazing to get drafted by the Warriors. They’ve shown a lot of interest … we’ll see what happens.”
I get why he makes sense. First off, he’s insurance in case they don’t re-sign swingman Reggie Williams, who is a restricted free agent. Also, if they draft Klay, it doesn’t necessarily mean they are moving Monta. They see Klay as offense off the bench AND as a third guard, small forward.
They’d like to see him play with Monta and Curry. Mark Jackson, who wants to keep the style of play fun, would have another tool to use on offense.
THOMPSON: “I will be overlooked I think as a third or fourth option. And I think that’d be perfect for me. Because I don’t think I’m a guy you can leave open that much on the perimeter. So I’d be great at spacing the floor and giving those guys a lot more opportunities to create.”
Of course, in another way, Klay is a typical Warrior. He has serious question marks on defense. Drafting him, some would say, contradicts the constant talk of defense coming out of Golden State’s headquarters these days.
He looks as limited athletically as scouting reports say. Even he said he has a ways to go defensively. The hope is that his size and the Warriors’ team defense scheme will cover his flaws while he has time to get better on that end. But that’s always the hope, isn’t it.
Depending on which voice wins out in the Warriors’ war room – whether Mark Jackson’s plea for defensive help to compliment the offensive talents he already has, or Jerry West’s opinion to steal a sleeper like Klay and give yourself some trade flexibility, or Larry Riley’s desire to get the best player available – I could definitely see the Warriors drafting Thompson, Bismack Biyombo, or Marcus Morris.
Biyombo, a defensive specialist, is in many ways what they need in the paint. Don’t know how he works with Andris Biedrins still on the roster, and with Ekpe Udoh. That’s three guys who don’t give you much on offense. But he could be a real presence defensively in the middle. Morris still may be the best fit because he can produce on both ends and is perhaps the most NBA ready, as far as his body and his game. But he may not be available.
But Thompson has West’s stamp. He impressed up close (Marcus Morris was “ok” I’m told). And he fills a need. That bodes well for Klay.