There are going to have to be major changes for the Golden State Warriors this coming season after the franchise were able to secure the signing of Kevin Durant in free agency.
These changes will affect the team in many ways, with a number of players, including Harrison Barnes, Andrew Bogut and Festus Ezeli parting ways with the franchise to allow the side enough cap room to sign Durant.
However, apart from just personnel changes, head coach Steve Kerr – alongside his remaining key players – will have to work out a way to facilitate Durant into the team’s on-court play.
It has been suggested that Klay Thompson may be the one to lose out the most, giving up even more than he already does playing in Stephen Curry and Draymond Green’s shadow.
But maybe instead of Thompson, who would be the star player for at least 20 teams in the NBA and has been one of the most efficient Warriors players in recent years, it should be Curry and Green, alongside Durant who give up more for Klay?
After all, as it is easily forgotten, Thompson was the player who carried the Warriors in the early playoff rounds against the Houston Rockets and Portland Trail Blazers while Curry was out through injury.
He was also the one who produced the NBA-record 11 three-pointers in a 41-point game to save the season for the Warriors in game six against Oklahoma City during the Western Conference Finals this past season.
In the last two campaigns, he has been one of the most consistent offensive players in the NBA, last year scoring 22.1 points per game, shooting 47% from the field and 42.5% from three-point range, all while being one of the best defenders in his position.
It would, therefore, be unwise to alienate a player like this, someone who currently holds the 12th highest three-point percentage in the history of basketball and would have a huge number of three-point records were it not for his backcourt teammate.
Golden State, and Kerr, in particular, know this and the Warriors should be looking for Thompson even more, even though he will now be the team’s third shooting option and will occupy even less attention than before.
It is that attention attracted to Curry and Durant that should now allow Thompson to excel even more, as it will be Klay taking the open threes that were previously given to Harrison Barnes, a respectable shooter, but far from one of the best ever.
With teams paying more attention to Curry and Durant, who will be the two expected stars running the show, more and more sides may find themselves being beaten by Thompson, which makes you wonder, just how can they be stopped?
As for James Harden commenting “there’s only one ball” on the issue of the Warriors super team sharing the ball, Thompson told KNBR’s Tolbert and Lund Show: “There’s one ball. Guess what we’ll do, put it in the hoop.”
And you can bet they’re going to do it pretty well.