Klay Thompson made a play that threatened to change the entire way I think about this year's Golden State Warriors and beyond. He received the ball at the three-point line, barely getting into a triple threat position because the shot he can unfurl is lethal enough in theory and actualization. He then drove right by Dwyane Wade with a left-hand dribble, keeping his shoulders dipped and lowered to the ground. There was David Lee creeping along the baseline and another bailout option on the strong side of the floor. A direct path to the basket also opened up and though it would have been a tough finish, it's not a bad process given the options. Then Thompson did something he did not even attempt - at least during games I watched - he flicked a pass to the opposite side of the court, finding Andre Iguodala shifting to the right-side above-the-break, wide open. Money.
Steve Kerr's new offense is simple in that it gets the players in the system moving no matter the situation. If David Lee is posting up, there's backside screens set. Even if Stephen Curry is in the process of a pick-and-pop with Draymond Green, players are shifting around in the hopes of finding open daylight. The more players are open, the more comfortable ball-handlers are in passing not only to actual people but to open spots. Thompson didn't make that kick-out pass last season partly because he wasn't the player he is now but also the pass was never there to be had. A potentially transformative offseason for the Warriors keeps getting better if Klay Thompson starts creating like he does. He finished the game with 29 points on 21 shots and five assists to two turnovers. Splendid performance.
1. The game itself was extremely fun. It played like a regular season game by the time it went halfway through the fourth quarter. Thompson and Curry went a bit cold at the end but it was due mostly to missed shots than execution. If we're looking for troubling signs, because what else are we going to do, it's that the matchup issues some teams might have with a quick power forward might mitigate some of David Lee and Andrew Bogut's effectiveness. They were outrebounded 35-29 as well. Athletics frontcourts might give them a bit of trouble. *ahem Los Angeles Clippers*
2. Andrew Bogut has eyes located somewhere on the back of head. Either that or his level of anticipation borders on clairvoyant. Curry threw him a lob off a pick-and-roll and knowing the pass was behind him, he tapped it to Lee under the basket who finished easily - as he did all night. The Warriors look ready to storm out of the gates with a ton of wins. Without sounding too pessimistic, they might need all the wins they can get especially if Bogut goes down with an injury. He's just so valuable for this team.
3. Harrison Barnes is still thinking and playing all at once. The knock on Barnes is his tendency to float and disappear. He doesn't try to do things he cannot do. The only issue with that is that we don't really know if he can do certain things because he never really tries them. He doesn't take another forced dribble or force a tough pass in traffic. While those are good things, there's not enough ancillary goodness to balance out the conservatism. But he can make a spot-up three.
4. James Michael McAdoo, after a great game against Denver Nuggets, was the first player off the bench. There's not much brought to the table in terms of skill but I think the Warriors are envisioning Kenneth Faried-lite. He has a lightning quick second jump and met Birdman at the rim and won that battle easily.
5. The Warriors travel to Houston to play the Rockets on Sunday at 5:00 P.M.