Last Wednesday, the Golden State Warriors ended a four-game losing streak since the departure of shooting guard Monte Ellis. At first, with Klay Thompson moved into the two-guard starting slot by Coach Mark Jackson, there was no great excitement. This was the case because the Warriors were losing.
They lost that first game without Ellis to the Boston Celtics. Then, followed, were defeats to the Milwaukee Bucks, the Utah Jazz, and the Minnesota Timberwolves. Rather quietly however, Thompson was showing good signs.
Against the Celtics, he was 9-for-16 and ended up with 26 points, including three three-pointers and four assists. He shot 6-for-17 for 19 points in the Milwaukee game, again with three from long range and four assists. At Utah, he pumped in 17 points on 6-for-16 shooting with two three-pointers, two assists and three steals. It was another 17-point total put up when the Warriors played Minnesota. Three shots went in from downtown.
Then, last Wednesday against the New Orleans Hornets, the Warriors won on a night that could turn out to be the beginning of a new era for the Warriors with Thompson as a pivotal figure. He had a season-high 27 points on 11-for-24 shooting. He had five rebounds and five assists. From downtown, he burned the nets four times. He is the best of the rookies from three-point land, putting them in at a .443 clip. That's solid.
The second son of former NBA standout with the Portland Trailblazers, San Antonio Spurs and Los Angeles Lakers, Mychal Thompson, Klay has the tools for a good future in the game at the highest level. What did Coach Jackson say?
"He (Thompson) is a heck of a player and he is going to be that for a long time. We love and respect Monte Ellis. Part of the reason that made the trade easier is because we had a guy who was ready to play and perform."
One never knows. Klay's career might not come close to that of his father who was drafted first in 1978, made the NBA All-Rookie team, then closed out his NBA tenure with two championship rings as a member of the Los Angeles Lakers. One thing is certain though, the son has more moves than the father had.
On one occasion against the Hornets, he stunned the opposing players and many watching with a baseline move for a dunk that Mychal could never make. There is no doubt that the physical skills are there. What he has to do now is combine good decisions on the court with his athleticism.
Guess what?He could make a push for the big rookie award. With almost 20 games left in the season, if he could end up leading in the three-point category, average 20-plus down the stretch, about three assists, key rebounds, a few steals and the Warriors finish at .500 or better, Klay might be anointed NBA Rookie of the Year.
Bahamians are watching and pulling for young Thompson. His grandfather, Dewitt, calls often to chat about Klay. Sports buff Bryan Wright is taken with the Warriors'Bahamian connection. Klay Thompson is for sure, one of those"feel good"stories. They are getting excited in Oakland, California, the home base of the Warriors.
To respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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