There are a million terrifying things to consider about the 2016-17 Warriors, but here’s one more: Klay Thompson as a No. 3 option.
There are a million terrifying things to consider about the 2016–17 Warriors, but here’s one more: Klay Thompson is the perfect No. 2 option, a lights-out shooter with permanent confidence who never kills his team’s flow, never steps on the alpha dog’s toes, and remains ready to take over at a moment’s notice if the offense stalls out. Well, that perfect No. 2 option just became the most overqualified No. 3 option in the NBA. The 26-year-old Thompson (22.1 PPG, 3.8 RPG, 2.1 APG) should make the adjustment to life with Kevin Durant just fine. Offensively, Thompson might get fewer shots, but they should be cleaner. Durant should also help cover up Thompson’s limitations as an off-the-dribble threat; if defenses overplay the Warriors’ shooters on the perimeter, as they often did during the playoffs, Thompson can shift into a spacing role in the corner as Durant handles the drive-and-decide responsibilities. Meanwhile, Thompson’s life on the defensive end shouldn’t change much at all, as he continues to hound opposing star perimeter players into contested shots. In other words, Thompson’s “sacrifice” next season should turn into a pretty good deal: If everything goes according to plan, he’ll get to keep doing what he does best while feeling less pressure to stray outside his comfort zones. (Last year: No. 26)
+ Hit 42.5% of his three-pointers on 8.1 attempts per game last season. That would stand as the best high-volume three-point shooting season in NBA history if not for teammate Stephen Curry
+ Shot 40.7% on threes and 89.5% on free throws during clutch situations last season
– Made the mistake of poking the bear (LeBron) before Game 5 of the Finals, telling reporters that the NBA is a “man’s league” and that LeBron James took Golden State’s trash talk “personal” and that his “feelings just got hurt.” James responded by averaging 36/12/10 in the next three games to lead the Cavaliers to the title
– Went just 5-for-20 from deep in Games 6 and 7 of the Finals, both losses