Klay Thompson

Warriors Notes: Wiggins, Game 6, Looney, Thompson

Andrew Wiggins shined at the right time for the Warriors in their second-round series against the Grizzlies, Tim Kawakami of The Athletic writes. Wiggins had a strong showing in Game 6, finishing with 18 points and 11 rebounds. He also made some key shots down the stretch.

“I believed in him from the jump,” teammate Klay Thompson said of Wiggins. “When he was with Minnesota, it was tough because to shoulder the load so much. Now with us, he can kind of be himself and play to his strengths and he was huge for us tonight.”

Wiggins was named an All-Star this season for the first time in his career. He averaged 15.0 points, 7.0 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game in the series against Memphis, shooting 47% from the field. Golden State will need his production when it plays Phoenix or Dallas in the Western Conference Finals next round.

Here are some other Warriors-related notes:

  • Along with Wiggins, big man Kevon Looney also had an impressive performance in Game 6, Anthony Slater of The Athletic writes. Slater believes Looney had the best game of his career. In 35 minutes, he pulled down 22 rebounds and dished out five assists, controlling the interior. After being out-rebounded 55-37 in Game 5, the Warriors won the rebound battle 70-44 in Game 6 — and Looney is a big reason why. The 26-year-old will become an unrestricted free agent this summer.
  • After rehabbing a torn ACL and torn Achilles tendon, Klay Thompson has mastered the work-life balance, Mark Medina of NBA.com writes. Thompson, a nine-year NBA veteran, missed the entire 2019/20 and 2020/21 seasons due to the rehab. “Balance is key, even during this time with the emotional roller coaster of the playoffs,” he explained. “Whether it’s reading or taking a walk with your dog or a boat ride or a bike ride. I try to think of simple things that keep me happy.”
  • “Game 6 Klay” also returned for the Warriors on Friday, Marcus Thompson II explores for The Athletic. Thompson poured in 30 points, shooting 11-of-22 from the floor and 8-of-14 from deep. He has had some historic Game 6 performances in the past, including 41 points against the Thunder in 2016, 35 points against the Rockets in 2018 and 30 points against the Raptors in 2019, as noted in the story.

Pacific Notes: Thompson, Wiseman, CP3, Johnson, Covington

Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said he and the team’s training staff feel good about Klay Thompson‘s health status, and that fatigue isn’t a factor in Thompson’s shooting slump, per Kendra Andrews of ESPN (Twitter link). Thompson has shot 11-for-38 from the field in the first two games against Memphis, including 5-of-22 from deep and 0-of-2 from the line, but he did hit a crucial go-ahead three-pointer late in Game 1.

Kerr also said that no matter how far the Warriors advance in the playoffs, they won’t consider playing James Wiseman, who was ruled out for the season at the end of March (Twitter link via Marc J. Spears of Andscape). Wiseman had a couple of knee surgeries over the past 13 months and experienced some setbacks in his rehab.

Here’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • John Hollinger of The Athletic details how Suns star Chris Paul has been dominating the playoffs. Paul, who turned 37 today, is averaging ridiculous numbers through eight games: 22.6 points, 4.6 rebounds, 9.9 assists (against 1.6 turnovers) and 1.6 steals on .580/.333/.970 shooting. He’s shooting 67.4% on twos. That is not a typo. Paul’s been arguably the best player in the postseason to this point, says Hollinger. (Side note: Paul has seven turnovers in the first half of Game 3 against the Mavericks, which is in progress. That figure represents a career-high for a half, Dwain Price of Mavs.com tweets. The Suns currently trail 51-44.)
  • Suns head coach Monty Williams has been working with Cameron Johnson on his post play recently, as Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic relays. “Just teaching him how to use his strength a little bit,” Williams said. “He’s got some tools down there. Just talking to him about balance and footwork and stuff like that.” Johnson is eligible for a rookie scale extension this summer. He was a finalist for the Sixth Man of the Year award, which went to Tyler Herro.
  • Robert Covington‘s newly-inked two-year, $24MM extension with the Clippers is fully guaranteed, with no option in the second year, reports Andrew Greif of The Los Angeles Times (via Twitter).

Pacific Notes: Poole, Thompson, S. Johnson, Kawhi, Kaminsky

Warriors veteran Andre Iguodala recently compared two third-year players, former teammate Tyler Herro and current teammate Jordan Poole, and thinks both players could be in for big paydays on their next contracts.

It’s funny. I’m hearing Tyler is looking at a max contract. I’m laughing at Jordan, like, it’s the same thing,” Iguodala said (video link via Anthony Slater of The Athletic).

As third-year former first-round pick, Poole is eligible for a rookie scale extension this summer, though Golden State might opt to wait until after the 2022/23 season to offer him a new deal in order to maintain financial flexibility. He’d be a restricted free agent at that point.

Poole is having a breakout season for the Warriors, averaging 18.4 points, 3.4 rebounds and 3.9 assists on .454/.368/.920 shooting (.602 true) through 74 games (30 minutes per night). He’s been outstanding since the beginning of March, averaging 25.2 points, 4.1 rebounds and 5.3 assists on .492/.437/.910 shooting in the past 19 games.

Here’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • Warriors guard Klay Thompson will miss Saturday’s game at San Antonio for precautionary reasons, writes Dalton Johnson of NBC Sports Bay Area. Thompson has typically been held out of the second game of back-to-backs, but coach Steve Kerr decided to switch things up and rest him on the first night this time instead. Thompson has been red-hot lately, scoring a combined 69 points over his past two games.
  • After Friday’s win over the Thunder, forward Stanley Johnson said he hopes the Lakers exercise their team option to retain him for next season, according to team beat reporter Mike Trudell (Twitter link). “Hopefully I’ve played well enough that they would take me back,” Johnson said.
  • Clippers head coach Tyronn Lue said on Friday that Kawhi Leonard hasn’t advanced past individual workouts yet, as Andrew Greif of The Los Angeles Times relays (via Twitter). Leonard has missed the entire season after suffering a torn ACL last June.
  • Suns head coach Monty Williams said “it was tough decision for us” to part with Frank Kaminsky, who was released on Thursday. “He meant a lot to us, and me personally, I’m grateful for everything he did for us. I just wish he could’ve gone on with us, but these are tough decisions that we have to make. The cool part was, he totally understood and it just says a lot about who he is as a person,” Williams said (video link from Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic).

Warriors Notes: Green, Thompson, Porter, Iguodala

The Warriors are trying to survive the remainder of the regular season without Stephen Curry, due to his foot injury. They were also without three other key players during their lopsided loss in Memphis tonight. Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Otto Porter Jr. sat out the game, as Kendra Andrews on ESPN tweets.

On the flip side, Andre Iguodala played for the first time since February 7 after recovering from a back injury. Iguodala wound up playing 16 minutes.

We have more on the Warriors:

  • In terms of Iguodala, he told Anthony Slater of The Athletic he needs to “crank it up.” Knee and hip issues have also sidelined him prior to the back pain. “It’s like cancer spreading out to different areas,” he said. “Small things. Nerve damage here. Bulging disc there. The pieces never really quite come together. One area will feel really good and then another area (hurts) the next day and you’re starting over with your rehab. It’s frustrating.”
  • When Green returns to action, he’s determined to make a bigger impact. In seven games since he recovered from a back injury, Green has a minus-41 plus-minus rating, Andrews notes. “I’ve just got to grind my way out of it,” Green said. “Make plays and impact the game. That’s why I feel like I’ve been terrible. I don’t feel like my impact has been on the game when it needs to be and normally is. I’ve just got to work my way out of it. Chip away at it every time I step on the court.”
  • Unless Green turns things around, the Warriors are doomed to a have short postseason run, Monte Poole of NBC Sports Bay Area opines. Green is one of the few players in the league capable of turning a game, or part of a season, in his team’s favor due to his defensive prowess.

Warriors Notes: Thompson, Iguodala, Kuminga, Kerr

Warriors star Klay Thompson logged 40 minutes in the team’s game against the Hawks on Friday, a major accomplishment since recovering from a torn ACL and torn Achilles’ tendon. The 32-year-old finished with 37 points, seven rebounds and three assists in the loss, shooting 9-of-16 from deep.

“That’s a big win for me,” Thompson said on recording 40 minutes, as relayed by Kendra Andrews of ESPN.com. “I can’t remember the last time I played 40 minutes … a huge milestone for me.”

Head coach Steve Kerr also complimented Thompson after the contest, calling it his best outing since returning. Thompson’s previous season-high in minutes was 38 against San Antonio one week ago, while is next highest was just under 34 against Milwaukee on March 12.

“Rick (Celebrini) may not be (comfortable with it),” Kerr said, referring to the team’s director of sports medicine and performance (as shared by Anthony Slater of The Athletic). “I may have a text on my phone. But I thought it was Klay’s best game.”

Here are some other notes out of Golden State tonight:

  • Kerr is hopeful that Andre Iguodala will return against the Grizzlies on Monday, Slater shares in a separate tweet. Iguodala has been dealing with a back injury and last played on February 7. He’s appeared in 26 games this season, averaging 4.1 points and 3.8 assists in 19.9 minutes per contest.
  • Golden State started Jonathan Kuminga in place of Kevon Looney on Friday, as noted by Slater (Twitter link). This allowed Draymond Green to play center, pairing Looney with Otto Porter Jr. off the bench. The team used the same starting lineup for its game against the Wizards on Sunday.
  • Kerr explained his rationale behind the lineup adjustment, noting how it’s important to settle on a lineup before the playoffs come. “We’re going to have a ton of flexibility these last eight games,” he said as part of a full quote, according to Andrews (Twitter link). “Without Steph, everything changes for us in terms of the domino effect of different rotations. I decided to separate Draymond and Loon for more spacing and more shooting on the floor at the same time.” Stephen Curry remains out due to a sprained ligament in his foot and is expected to return before the postseason.

Warriors Notes: Thompson, Poole, Lineups, Wiseman

After two weeks of struggling with his shot, Klay Thompson unleashed the type of game the Warriors will need to make a long playoff run, writes Kendra Andrews of ESPN. Thompson scored 38 points on Saturday night, his highest total since returning from a long injury absence, with eight three-pointers, six rebounds and five assists in a win over Milwaukee.

“Everybody makes a big deal about my shooting, man,” said Thompson, who connected on 15 of his 24 shots from the field. “I mean, I’m not happy with how I was shooting but I know these nights are within me. I just know. I’ve done too many great things that players haven’t done before to doubt myself.”

However, there were some outside doubters as questions started to emerge about Thompson’s effectiveness after missing more than two full seasons with two serious injuries. He was mired in a slump after the All-Star break, shooting just 34% from the floor and 23.3% from beyond the arc over his last four games. He has also been in and out of the lineup, missing two games because of illness and two others while being rested in back-to-backs.

“He’s so hard on himself and wants so badly to succeed,” coach Steve Kerr said. “I thought he just let the game come to him early. He didn’t hunt shots. Over the past few games, he’s been taking tough ones early, which has kept him from getting into a rhythm. Tonight, it felt like he was taking better shots early. … You know Klay, once a couple go in, the tougher ones get a lot easier for him.”

There’s more on the Warriors:

  • Kerr tried a different starting lineup Saturday, using reserve guard Jordan Poole along with Thompson and Stephen Curry, notes Anthony Slater of The Athletic. The change was partially dictated by the matchup — Kerr wanted another play-maker on the court with Jrue Holiday guarding Curry — but the trio has been especially productive, posting a plus-97 in the 104 minutes they’ve played together.
  • Kerr only used eight players against the Bucks, but he will soon have a lot more options, Slater adds. Draymond Green is expected to return Monday, along with Otto Porter, and Andre Iguodala and Gary Payton II are both on the way back. “What’s becoming apparent to me, this year, is that we could have a different starting lineup from game to game in the playoffs, series to series,” Kerr said. “This is not the Warriors from five years ago when you knew exactly what was coming. We got a lot of really good pieces, but we have some new ones, some unproven ones. We have to be able to adjust quickly on the fly if things aren’t going well.”
  • Kerr was “thrilled” about James Wiseman‘s performance in his first G League game and said he should be ready for NBA action “soon,” according to Dalton Johnson of NBC Sports Bay Area. Wiseman will play for Santa Cruz again today, and Kerr and a few players plan to attend.

Warriors Notes: Wiseman, Poole, Wiggins, Thompson

Warriors center James Wiseman returned to the court on Thursday for the first time in 11 months, playing for the Santa Cruz Warriors in the G League after recovering from a pair of procedures on his knee. As Anthony Slater of The Athletic writes, Wiseman had to shake off some rust, but had a productive outing, scoring 18 points and grabbing six rebounds in just 21 minutes.

According to Slater, the plan is for Wiseman to review film of the game on Friday, practice with Santa Cruz on Saturday, and play in another G League contest on Sunday. After that, Golden State will determine whether or not he’s ready to make his NBA return.

Here’s more on the Warriors:

  • Jordan Poole‘s dagger three-pointers in the final minute of the Warriors’ Thursday win over Denver was the latest example of the 22-year-old’s ability to rise to big moments, according to Marcus Thompson II of The Athletic, who says Poole’s regular season performance bodes well for his odds of playing an important role in the team’s playoff run.
  • Conversely, Andrew Wiggins‘ game has taken a “taken a precipitous decline” as of late, writes Monte Poole of NBC Sports Bay Area. Wiggins has made just 34.6% of his free throw attempts since January, prompting Poole to wonder whether the All-Star forward can still be a regular part of crunch-time lineups this spring if he doesn’t turn things around soon.
  • Klay Thompson‘s shooting numbers this season – including 34.5% from the floor and 28.8% on threes in his last seven games – remain well below his career rates. But head coach Steve Kerr isn’t worried about the veteran sharpshooter, who is still working his way back into top form following a two-and-a-half year absence due to ACL and Achilles tears. “The only thing that I’m stressing with Klay right now is to just get great shots,” Kerr said on Thursday, per Josh Schrock of NBC Sports Bay Area. “If he’s not open, to move it on. I think we’ve really tried to give Klay a lot of freedom in his comeback, just to be able to feel the game. Not to harp on mistakes and that sort of thing. But the bottom line is we are at our best when the ball moves, and we’re getting good shots.”

Warriors Notes: Curry, Thompson, Veterans, Make-Up Game

The season is unraveling for the Warriors at a really bad time, writes Kendra Andrews of ESPN. Golden State fell to the Lakers Saturday night, extending its losing streak to four games for the first time this season. The team has fallen into third place in the Western Conference after going 2-8 in its last 10 games, and Stephen Curry understands that something needs to change.

“We cannot give in to this losing mentality,” he said. “We’re not that team, and I’m not going to let us be that team. … We cannot give in to this losing spirit of just finding different ways to lose basketball games. We have 18 games left, we have to figure out how to turn things around pretty quick.”

The Warriors are dealing with a variety of issue, with the most notable being the absence of Draymond Green, who hasn’t played since January 9 but hopes to be back in “a couple weeks.” However, the problems go beyond Green, Andrews adds, as Golden State has been struggling with missed free throws, a drop in bench production and executing late in games, which coach Steve Kerr blamed for Saturday’s loss.

“I thought we had several chances to really break this game open,” Kerr said. “This has kind of been a pattern during this bad spell for us. We are not stepping on teams when they are down. We are making mistakes and allowing teams to hang around. And when you do that in this league, you’re dead.”

There’s more on the Warriors:

  • Another concern is a shooting slump by Klay Thompson, who is going through his worst stretch since returning from a long injury-related layoff, per Anthony Slater of The Athletic. Thompson was just 3-of-13 Saturday night, including an important miss on a wide open three in the final two minutes. “Klay’s pressing,” Kerr said. “He got into a pretty good groove over the month or so before the All-Star break, and I feel like the sickness, the illness that kept him out of a couple of games probably affected his conditioning and his timing. So, he struggled the last two games. He’ll get it back.”
  • The Warriors are getting quality minutes from their young players, but many of the veterans they signed during the offseason aren’t producing right now, Slater adds. Andre Iguodala has only played one six-minute stretch since January 20, Nemanja Bjelica is losing his spot in the rotation and Otto Porter Jr. hasn’t been the same since January ended.
  • Kerr expressed frustration over the league’s decision to schedule a make-up game Monday at Denver and said he won’t have Curry, Thompson, Andrew Wiggins and possibly a few other players make the trip, according to Dalton Johnson of NBC Sports Bay Area. “We are not sending a lot of our players to Denver,” Kerr said. “The decision was pretty easy. Throwing that game (originally scheduled for December 30) into the schedule the way the league did after that game was postponed and then going back to Denver — three games in four nights, with two of those games being back and forth, we’re not gonna put our high-minutes guys at risk.” 

Warriors Notes: Wiggins, Green, Thompson, Moody

When the Warriors were tearing through the league earlier this season, they benefited from a strong performance by Andrew Wiggins, who played well enough to a starting spot in the All-Star Game. But Golden State has slumped recently, dropping three of its last four games and barely holding off Memphis for second place in the West, and Wiggins’ downturn has been a huge reason why, writes Monte Poole of NBC Sports Bay Area.

Injuries have affected the Warriors, who have been without Draymond Green for seven weeks and Andre Iguodala for three weeks. Klay Thompson sat out the past two games with an illness, leaving Stephen Curry surrounded by a collection of young talent and role players. The team needed Wiggins to fill the void, and he hasn’t been doing it, Poole observes.

Wiggins just completed his least productive month since his rookie season in 2014, Poole adds, and his first game of March wasn’t encouraging. After scoring eight early points Tuesday night, Wiggins spent much of the game “floating around” and “standing in space,” according to Poole, who states that it brings back memories of the underachiever reputation that Wiggins had when he played in Minnesota.

There’s more on the Warriors:

  • The organization plans to have Green around his teammates more often as he works his way back into playing shape following a lower back injury, according to Anthony Slater of The Athletic. Green has been doing most of his rehab work on his own, but players and coaches believe he raises the spirits of the team and demands accountability from others. Coach Steve Kerr says Green continues to “make strides” toward a return and recently competed in a 3-on-3 scrimmage, Slater tweets.
  • Thompson had a “raging headache” after last Thursday’s game and felt sick for several days, but he traveled to Dallas with the team and plans to play tomorrow night (video link from Slater).“I’m playing,” he told reporters. “I didn’t come all the way to Dallas to watch.”
  • Rookie guard Moses Moody made his sixth start of the season Tuesday, but he had to leave the game with a left eye contusion, the Warriors announced on Twitter. “He got poked in the eye,” Kerr said after the game, per Cody Taylor of Yahoo Sports. “I think he got elbowed by (Karl-Anthony) Towns on a drive. He went up to go vertical and he got elbowed in the eye and it is pretty bad. His eye is swollen shut.”

Pacific Notes: Thompson, Kings, LeBron, Rich Paul

Warriors wing Klay Thompson sourced input from a variety of his NBA colleagues across the league, past and present, while rehabilitating from back-to-back season-ending injuries, writes Mark Medina of NBA.com. Thompson tore his ACL during the 2019 NBA Finals, and subsequently tore his Achilles while ramping up for the 2020/21 season.

“So many people count you out when you go through an injury like this,” Hall-of-Famer Dominique Wilkins, who consulted with Thompson, told Medina. “You know your heart. You just got to stay focused, diligent and tough. You can get back from this.”

Wilkins suffered an Achilles tear while playing for the Hawks, but ultimately returned to his All-Star form afterwords.

Thompson also maintained a dialogue over text with former Warriors teammate Kevin Durant, now with the Nets. Durant tore his Achilles while with Golden State during the 2019 postseason.

“It’s inspiring to watch him and see him look the exact same way prior to the injury,” Thompson said in praising his teammate. “It’s a testament not only to his willpower but his skill level. He might lose a little quickness or a little bounce. But you’ll never lose the ability to put the ball in the hole.”

The 31-year-old five-time All-Star also spoke with Grant Hill and Rudy Gay about their own recoveries from major injuries. Thompson is averaging 17.1 PPG with a reduced minutes load this season as he continues to work his way back, hoping to reclaim his All-Star form come playoff time.

There’s more out of the Pacific Division:

  • Given that the perpetually rebuilding Kings cannot necessarily rely on big-ticket free agency additions as a small market franchise, Chris Binderman of the Sacramento Bee wonders if Sacramento could benefit from taking a page out of the Nuggets‘ playbook when it comes to adding and developing talent.
  • The 27-32 Lakers find themselves facing an uncertain future after going all-in on Russell Westbrook in a trade this summer. Although LeBron James appeared to voice his relative apathy about a long-term future in Los Angeles during the 2022 All-Star Weekend festivities, he has since expressed his commitment to the team. When Bill Oram of The Athletic openly hypothesized that James might not want to remain with the Lakers beyond the end of his current deal, James retorted in comments to the press. “Anytime Bill says anything about the Lakers it’s going to be negative,” James said. “So, I hope no one in the Lakers faithful listens to Bill Oram. I hope not. He hasn’t said one great thing about the Lakers in so long.” In a new piece for The Athletic, Oram opines that James himself was responsible for the latest rumblings.
  • Lakers owner Jeanie Buss, GM Rob Pelinka, and James’ longtime agent Rich Paul met this week to discuss everyone’s feelings surrounding their team-building strategy. Sam Amick of The Athletic provides more details on the group’s conversation.