The Warriors blew out the Cavaliers in Game 1 of the NBA Finals, and received little offensive help from sharpshooter Klay Thompson. Thompson posted just six points on 3-of-16 shooting as teammates Kevin Durant (38 points) and Stephen Curry (28 points) picked up the slack. Despite his shooting, Thompson’s impact was felt on on the defensive side of the ball.
Thompson’s defense on LeBron James, J.R. Smith, and Kevin Love helped Golden State in its 113-91 win, entering Sunday’s Game 2 with an early series lead. However, Thompson’s struggles with shooting in the playoffs have been evident; one half of the Splash Brothers is shooting 36.6 percent from the field, 33.8 percent from beyond the arc, and hasn’t posted a 20-point game since Game 4 of the Semifinals against the Jazz on May 8. The reason could be a prolonged slump or it could be the addition of Durant disrupting his role on offense. Either way, Dennis Chambers of Basketball Insiders feels that the 76ers should pursue the 27-year-old shooting guard.
During a recent interview on Philadelphia ESPN radio affiliate, 97.5 The Fantatic, Thompson’s father and former first overall pick Mychal Thompson spoke highly of the Sixers’ evolving core.
“Yes, [former general manager] Sam Hinkie was right,” Thompson told host Mike Missanelli. “The talent that he amassed there with Ben [Simmons] and Joel [Embiid], as long as those two guys stay healthy Philadelphia is the team of the future in the Eastern Conference. No doubt about that. They’re going to be better than Washington, better than Atlanta, better than Toronto. Love that roster that you have there in Philly right now.”
The elder Thompson also added that Philadelphia is “one shooter” away from being a complete team, mentioning soon-to-be free agent J.J. Redick as a target. However, Redick is 32 years old and is closer to the end of his prime whereas Thompson is in the midst of his. Thompson is no stranger to trade rumors as his name was connected to a possible Love deal years ago before the Cavaliers — the Warriors’ opponent in the NBA Finals the last three years — snagged the talented big man. Thompson told Tim Bontemps of the Washington Post last January how much those rumors motivated him.
“A little bit. I was very happy. But I did take it as motivation,” Thompson said. “I had to prove they made the right decision. But I also look at the bright side of everything. It also meant that I’m wanted. It did motivate me to prove them right, and show them they made the right decision, and just keep working.”
For his part, Thompson enjoyed a strong regular season, posting 22.3 PPG while shooting .468 percent from the field and .414 percent from three. Any trade talks for Thompson with the 76ers would likely include the team’s third overall pick and other young assets.
That brings up a few questions: Is trading Thompson something the Warriors should explore this offseason? What should the team look to acquire in such a scenario? Could Kevin Durant‘s hefty salary in the future be a good reason to deal Thompson now?