Here is a link to my Thursday column. The full text runs below:
Thursday night is the NBA draft. The Warriors have no picks, but that could change. We can say with certainty the Warriors will choose a player tonight or they won’t. You read it here first.
The big news – well, the big rumor – is they want Minnesota’s Kevin Love. Let’s keep going with this rumor stuff a moment. It’s not true to say “they” want Love. General manager Bob Myers, according to what we read, wants Love. But new coach Steve Kerr and consultant Jerry West, according to the whispers, don’t want Love if they have to give the Timberwolves Klay Thompson among others.
It’s OK to surrender David Lee. That’s obvious. And Harrison Barnes could go. And a draft choice in the future. But not Thompson. That’s how much some of the “they” think of the Warriors’ shooting guard.
Now, for a dose of reality. In life you gotta give if you wanna get. Or something like that.
It’s not like the Timberwolves’ brass is sitting around saying, “Gee, the Warriors sure are in a tough spot. Let’s help them out by not asking for Thompson.”
Not on your life.
The Wolves are going to lose their great power forward and they need every good player they can get in return. They must push for Thompson. So, do the Warriors give him up in this deal – if this deal is still alive?
Heck, yes. We like you, Klay. Have a good life in the frozen north. And don’t forget to write.
Why should the Warriors give up Thompson in a deal for Love?
Because Kevin Love is absolutely unique in the NBA. He is a big strong rebounding forward who can shoot 3s. A tough guy with touch. He would make the Warriors much better even if they lose Thompson to get him. It is easier to get a shooting guard than a great power forward, which makes Thompson less valuable than Love. A lot less valuable.
In the sixth game of the playoff series with the Clippers which the Warriors won 100-99, Thompson scored nine points. He shot 3 of 11. Not so hot. In Game 7 when the Warriors were eliminated, Thompson scored 15 – not bad, not great – but he shot 4 of 11. He scored 7 in Game 2, a blowout loss. Took four shots. Seriously, four shots.
It says here Love would have contributed more than Thompson in the playoffs. With Love the Warriors probably would have defeated the Clippers even without Thompson on the roster.
A team needs two superstars to be a serious team. Three would be better. The Warriors currently have one. Stephen Curry. Because no other Warrior plays at his level, opponents can trap Curry, send two and three defenders to make his life miserable. The Clippers sure did that. Thompson often could not pick up the slack because he does not pass much, does not draw defenders to him. He did not help Curry get free against LA. The help was all one way: Curry to Thompson.
If the Warriors get Love, they will have two superstars. Two spheres of influence, if you want to think in geopolitical terms. It will be impossible for opponents to devote so many defenders to Curry with Love near the hoop or lurking at the 3-point line. The pick and roll between Love and Curry would be dynamite.
The knock against Love is his defense. Doesn’t jump high. Has relatively short arms. Doesn’t put out maximum effort. Well, no one ever said David Lee is a defensive whiz, either. Lee is a mediocre individual defender but he plays reasonable team defense. It would be Kerr’s job to get good team defense out of Love if he ever gets Love. I mean, isn’t that the job of a coach?
As long as we’re dealing in rumors. I want to address another. This one isn’t even a rumor. It’s a thought, a mere notion. If the Warriors can’t get Love, should they go after Carmelo Anthony, now a free agent?
In a New York minute.
I was on TV the other day. Someone on the panel said Anthony would make the Warriors a worse team. It was something about Anthony being selfish and ruining team chemistry – in my world, chemistry is a phony concept. I said Anthony would give the Warriors the second superstar they need. Unlike Thompson, Anthony can take over a game all by himself. Just like Love.
Today’s discussion raises a larger issue on the Warriors. Call it The Explosion of the Splash Brothers Myth.
Explode that sucker.
The Warriors are a guard-oriented team, a guard-dominated team, a guard-heavy team. They are out of balance. Guard teams are fun to watch. They don’t win lots of championships. The Warriors need a dynamic scorer in the front court, a game changer. They need to balance the floor. They cannot do this with Curry and Thompson as the offensive focus.
The Splash Brothers are a nice little combo. But we learned one thing the past two seasons. The Splash Brothers eventually morph into The Crash Brothers.
For more on the world of sports in general and the Bay Area in particular, go to the Cohn Zohn at cohn.blogs.pressdemocrat.com. You can reach Staff Columnist Lowell Cohn at firstname.lastname@example.org.