Blogtable: Keeping Klay … now what?

Klay Thompson averaged 18.4 points a game for the Warriors last season. (Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE)

Klay Thompson averaged 18.4 ppg for the Warriors last season. (Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE)

Each week, we’ll ask our stable of scribes across the globe to weigh in on the most important NBA topics of the day — and then give you a chance to step on the scale, too, in the comments below.


BLOGTABLE: Cavs the new Heat? | Whither the Warriors? | Using the FIBA springboard


> Golden State wouldn’t part with Klay Thompson to get Kevin Love. Where does that leave the Warriors? Are they better off or worse off than they were at summer’s start?

Steve Aschburner, NBA.com: If you aren’t improving, you’re getting worse. That seems a fair assessment of the Western Conference in particular, where the Warriors — last year’s preseason darlings for many — won’t crack the top 3 for most prognosticators this fall. The Klay Thompson man-crush of Golden State’s front office escapes me, beyond the basketball basics of needing somebody in a Steph Curry backcourt who can guard people. There’s no assurance Steve Kerr as coach will be an upgrade over Mark Jackson (though Kerr’s staff surely will stir up less drama). Improvement from within? Andrew Bogut stays healthy? Swell. But that’s not enough to vault past the Spurs, Thunder and Clippers, or maybe even the Mavericks, Grizzlies and Trail Blazers.

Fran Blinebury, NBA.comIt leaves the Warriors toweling down after a spin class, because they haven’t moved an inch. They’re right where last saw them in the spring, stuck in the middle of the deep Western Conference behind the upper crust Spurs, Thunder, Clippers and maybe Grizzlies, naively trying to convince themselves they’re contenders.

Jeff Caplan, NBA.com: Keep preaching about Klay Thompson’s defense and how crucial it is as long as Steph Curry is the team’s point guard, but I would have dealt Thompson (and David Lee, a player I’ve long admired) for Love without losing sleep. Love turns only 26 prior to the season and he’s simply more versatile than Thompson and Lee put together. He does things no other player does. End of story.

Scott Howard-Cooper, NBA.comAnswer C: the same. Shaun Livingston will be a nice pickup if he is healthy enough to play 65-70 games and a full postseason, and the projected return of Festus Ezeli after knee surgery will be a much-needed boost at center if he can offer solid backup minutes. The Thompson/Love decision will obviously be hanging over the Warriors, with how Thompson plays and with how David Lee plays. But it still will not be a surprise if Golden State is solidly in the pack of the second tier in the West with the Trail Blazers, Rockets, Grizzlies and Mavericks. And if there is a worry about an offseason decision, it should be about the coaching change, not the players. Mark Jackson connected with the roster and delivered results. Steve Kerr will be a rookie on the sidelines.

John Schuhmann, NBA.com: The only thing that has changed the Warriors’ outlook is the moves of other teams (Dallas and Houston in particular) around them in the West hierarchy. Golden State still has the ability to rank in the top 10 on both ends of the floor. They ranked third defensively last season and still have Andrew Bogut, Andre Iguodala and Klay Thompson. The key will be for Steve Kerr to make better use of the bench and make them more potent offensively. With all their talent, the potential is there. Given the uncertainty of a new coach, it’s impossible to rank the Warriors ahead of the Spurs, Thunder or Clippers. But they shouldn’t be dismissed as a possible conference finalist either.

Sekou Smith, NBA.com: The Warriors occupy the same place in the Western Conference standings with or without Love: they are still a few pieces away from the true contender status that I thought they were ready for last season. Toss in a new coach and new system, and they could even take a step back in the 2014-15 season. Klay Thompson is not the man responsible for what happens to the Warriors next season, at least not the only man. His Splash Brothers partner Steph Curry will be the catalyst for the Warriors. Thompson, as good as he has been and will continue to be, should not have to pay that bill.

Lang Whitaker, NBA.com’s All Ball blog: Can I vote for the the same? I don’t get not giving up Thompson for Love. Thompson is a really good player, one of the best off guards in the NBA, but Kevin Love is one of the 10 best players in the NBA, and I think if you have a chance to make that move, you make it. I’m just not really sure where the Warriors can look to improve this season. Defensively they were quietly pretty good last season, and we know offensively that they’re dynamic. Love would have given them a rebounding presence and helped stretch the floor even more. Last season they won 51 games in a difficult Western Conference. Steve Kerr will have his hands full in his first year trying to build upon that.

Davide Chinellato, NBA Italia: I think they’re the same. The West isn’t changed a lot this summer and there are at least three teams, Spurs, Thunder and Clippers, better than the Warriors. Golden State can count on Steve Kerr’s great basketball mind, even if he’s a coach with no experience, and I’m sure going to the World Cup with Team USA is going to help a lot Steph Curry and Klay Thompson. I think the Warriors are intriguing, but not a Western Conference powerhouse

Aldo Aviñante, NBA Philippines: It actually depends on how new coach Steve Kerr will implement his system with the tools that the Warriors have in their disposal. But one of the underrated things that goes unnoticed in the NBA most of the time is — continuity. The Spurs have shown throughout the years that their chemistry will always make them contenders and with Golden State’s talented line-up intact their is no way for them to go but up.

Marc-Oliver Robbers, NBA Deutschland: I believe that they are better off in the West. In my opinion a trade Thompson/Lee for Martin/Love or something near it would have been no big upgrade. Thompson has still plenty of upside in his game and with new coach Steve Kerr on his side, he will develop fast. With Kerr on the sideline the team will play more team-basketball and less isolation. That will help Barnes a lot and Iguodala will improve, too.

Karan Madhok, NBA India: The Warriors are going to be exactly as they were when the summer began. Their guards will improve a little (Curry and Thompson) and their big men will probably regress a bit (Bogut and Lee). In the tough West, only a big splash can make a real difference in the standings. Eventually, the Warriors’ fate will be decided by their supporting cast and their intangibles. Will Harrison Barnes bounce back from last year’s dip and finally have his much-awaited breakout year? How is Steve Kerr going to be as a coach? Even in the best-case scenario, I don’t see Golden State finishing any higher than fifth in the West.

28 Comments

  1. Hi! This is my first comment here so I just wanted to give
    a quick shout out and say I truly enjoy reading your blog posts.

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    Many thanks!

  2. I’m more worried about Steve Kerr than anyone else. This team will be hungry and more experienced but Kerr will have to connect to these guys and a slow start in the West could mean no playoffs. They should have encouraged Mark Jackson to bring in an offensive mind on his staff to improve things not replace the coach whom the team loved and responded to. I’ll be watching closely early on.

  3. C_All_Star says:

    really dont think love should go to golden state, if i were love. both team player does not exchange team, klay + curry + lee can definitely go into playoff, while cleveland is 99% sure to get love. if klay and lee goes to t wolve, they will miss playoff, and even love goes to warrior, they might miss playoff too. “win-win” for no trade, and lose-lose for having trade. what will you pick

  4. TTKIN says:

    Why does every f*cking report say “GS wouldn’t trade Klay for Love”???

    MINN wasn’t asking for Klay for Love….they were asking for Klay AND lee AND Barnes.

    If this was about 25 yr old Kevin Garnett, hell yes u make that trade. But trade my starting SG PF AND 6th man for a guy who plays ZERO defense? F*ck that!!!

  5. standard says:

    you so called fans
    talking trash about mark jackson
    and he was the one that got the GSW
    to where they are today
    shame on you

  6. MONRAX says:

    THE QUICK BROWN FOX JUMPS OVER THE LAZY DOG

  7. mee(a)t says:

    Warriors did the right thing in keeping Klay. Him, Iggy, and Bogut makes the warriors a serious defensive threat. (It doesn’t hurt to have Green, Barns, and J.O’Neal as backups). Plus he has a nice jumper. The warriors problems were their offense since Mark Jackson isn’t that creative. If this team buys into the stuff Kerr had shown in the summer league, they can easily rank top 4 in the west.

    I can’t believe people are thinking the warriors lost in not getting Love.

  8. Pour out the hateraid says:

    Somehow, I think the Warriors will be just fine. They really didn’t need K. Love in the first place anyway. That bunch that they have right now is on the incline.

    • 36yrfan says:

      ….agreed !!

    • #dwade#flash says:

      those 3 players can average more than love, love got no D and besides it could ruin the chemistry for sure. After getting rid of Makr Jackson, i think not getting Love is the most sensible thing to do, you dont want to hurt your team twice, by losing your coach and some parts of your core

  9. Rangers says:

    Warriors will regret not getting love. Having curry/love/bogut trio with good role player in igoudala on one team would be 55+ wins easily. Thompson is above average, but not much more.

    Livingston is a good pickup though. He provides depth at both guard positions and doesn’t need to shoot to be effective.

  10. The Voice Of Reason says:

    Improvement is not always better from external – it can really muck up the chemistry. If Klay improves, then yes it’s a great decision. Lee is looking at the downside of his career unfortunately, but chemistry is going to be mucked up with a new coach anyway. The difficulty is that without a healthy Bogut, it really wouldn’t make much difference in defense. On offense I actually think it would be WORSE to get Love. Yes he is younger and rebounds better than most forwards and centers, HOWEVER, with Kevin Martin (who would have come over in the trade) and Curry and Iggy on the 3 point line, Love would really find himself a bit out of place. He does have a bit of a post game (not much) but David Lee is WAY more versatile in the post and gives them a genuine low post option who won’t be trying to take 3 point shots away from Curry. That’s good team chemistry. Love would have wanted his shots out there, I’m not convinced Curry would be happy with that…
    Bottom line is that either way – Love or no Love, it doesn’t improve their spot. They are 4th or 5th in the West, they are not, nor would they have gotten into the top 3 debate that is the Spurs, Thunder and Clippers.
    What’s scary is that the Spurs kept their championship team together, the Clippers improved both on and off the court and the Thunder (who finished 2nd in the West mind you) are a Kendrick Perkins trade away from being completely lethal. Tough luck GSW, you are left to fight it out with Portland, Houston, Memphis and Dallas for the 4th – 6th seed. Problem is that at least 2 of those other 4 teams got better and Pheonix and New Orleans got better too…

  11. jdub455 says:

    the warriors are solid… curry, klay, lee, they just need to get more experience and mesh more with iggy… but the key to theit championship dream is bogut’s health… if he is healthy, they are a very very dangerous team…

  12. glenn hays says:

    Absolutely the Warriors missed this one! How many opps do you get at signing
    the NBAs best power forward? Ppg = top 5 ; Rpg=best. Are you serious? This
    should’ve been a no-brainer for Golden St. Instead, they are the same middle
    of the pack team. Too bad.

  13. darryl dawkins says:

    I don’t think the GSW will make much noise. They should be in the Leastern Conference. However, I LOVE the Splash Brothers!!!

  14. mike jordan says:

    with Thompson’s FIBA World Cup involvement, he will be a better player, he can fit in to any role that kerr would give him this coming season, he will also be a better compliment to curry, he will learn to be a leader, but having kevin love could give you better shot at the finals

  15. dRAGO says:

    Golden State is just a good team and they are not going to get better than their opponents.Love would not change this because he is not a Kobe or Parker or Novicki he is a stats monster but not a real dominant player that can’t be stopped.The Warriors should become a lock down defense team that breaks bones in the paint and defends 3pt shoots like they are possessed.I saw the Splash brothers shoot like other duo in history but they lost to better teams the last two years despite of that so it stands to reason that you can’t shoot your way to a title you need to be consistent in defense and clutch on offense.

  16. Scisca says:

    Personally I only believe that good trades are the ones that make you bigger while keeping at least the same talentwise. So while Klay for Love would be a good move (similar talent and skills, but a bigger man, which is harder to find), but losing Lee for Marting in the trade makes the bigger size advantage disappear. Now you’re actually getting smaller, since Lee is like Love, but Martin is smaller than Klay. This is why I think the Warriors made the right move. Love gives rebounding, but Lee is also good at this, so that’s not that much of an improvement. On the other hand you lose the great D from Klay for Martin, who is good on offence, but not on D. On top of all of that you lose the chemistry, the “Splash Brothers” myth, the bravado. To sum up – the trade wouldn’t be worth it. Warriors should improve in another way. The best way for them to go up is actually to get some production from Barnes.

  17. BigMel says:

    If the warriors can stay healthy with Bogut, Lee, and Green with Festus back at back-up center and the new additions of Livingston and Rush with what we had last year we shall be fine!!!

  18. dustydreamnz says:

    Great point Aldo, I like the Warriors this season. They had some great battles with the Clippers and Thunder last season so they’re not far away from the top of the West. I reckon Steve Kerr is an upgrade as coach too even though I didn’t mind Mark Jackson.

  19. slider821 says:

    how many times does this need to be said, Love wasn’t willing to sign long term. Why would Warriors give up Klay and Lee and likely another young piece for a 1 year rental of Love. Can we just stop talking about this now?

  20. dave says:

    Interesting opinions from the experts but not really knowledgeable about the W’s. We were NOT dynamic on offense last year but actually near the top of the league in defense. Most of the offensive potential was untapped under Jackson. Too many iso’s, not enough ball movement. With new coach Kerr, there are huge possibilities for Bogut, Iguodala, and Barnes to have better or breakout seasons. The bench is much improved with Livingstone and Rush.
    The deal for Love would have required taking on Kevin Martin’s salary, meaning Warriors would be acquiring not one, but two defensive liabilities from the timberwolves, while giving up a soon-to-be-elite wing defender in Thompson, who is in reality a better 3 point shooter than Love, despite all the hype.
    Most local pundits who know the team and the deal offered by the Wolves agree it would have made the Warriors worse, not better.

  21. Pour out the hateraid says:

    Not really sure if the Warriors have much to worry about. Stephen Curry,

  22. Ike says:

    When you look at the best shooting guards in the league, theres not many star two guards at the moment. If Klay can become an All Star in a couple of seasons and become one of the best shooting guards in the West, then it will be a great move.

    I dont think Kevin Love would have launched Warriors to Contender status. And you cant define chemistry between players. So if Klay and Curry can build a certain type of chemistry making them the best backcourt in the West, then they made the right move. But its just with the West, nothing is for Certain, you just have to make the playoffs, and with keeping Klay, they will still make the playoffs next year.

  23. Defdun says:

    Keeping the core together + Shaun Livingston and Festus Ezili is already good news as Klay and Stephen Curry are still on the young side and will only get better. Adding a new and probably better coach (Sorry Mark, I prefer you at TNT to GSW) will infuse the team and if all healthy they will surely increase their winning percentage vs last year! Thanks Aldo for stating that continuity can be a good thing, which i think it will be in this case! I see GSW in the top four…