The question isn’t “can Klay Thompson shoot?” The guy came into the league a gunner and hit 41.4 percent from three as a rookie.
But in a larger role this season — starting, more minutes, more touches — he can’t find his touch. He’s shooting just 33.3 percent from three (and averaging seven shots from downtown a game). He is 1-of-15 this season between three and 15 feet (via Hoopdata). In the Warriors last six games Thompson has shot just 26-for-89 (that’s 29.2 percent for those of you scoring at home).
It’s a slump, and Thompson has a plan to get out of it, he told the Contra Costa Times.
“Keep shooting,” he said. “It’s all mental. You can’t let it get to you. These first 11 games, I haven’t been making shots, but I’m all right. I’ll be fine.”
That’s what a shooter should say.
But coach Mark Jackson should have other considerations. Matt Steinmetz at CSNBayArea.com suggests it might be time to turn Thompson into a sixth man.
The move might raise some eyebrows because the Warriors have made no secret they believe Thompson is the shooting guard of the future.
But Thompson is mired in an awful shooting slump (some could argue season-long), and worse, he has made some very unsound plays late in games recently.
The question has to be weighed with how much more Jackson would get out of bench. Technically Kent Bazemore is the backup two. Although in practice you would start Richard Jefferson instead (well, when healthy, Jefferson was out Monday night). This is where the season ending injury to Brandon Rush really hurts.
You don’t want to hurt Thompson’s confidence long term, but it’s about winning games. The Warriors are 6-5 in a deep Western Conference where they do not have a lot of margin for error. So Thompson has to stop making them or see his minutes reduced.
Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker is just 20 years old. He’s a League Pass favorite, and indeed he should be a favorite in Phoenix for years to come. On Friday, Booker dropped 70 points — yes, 70 — in a loss to the Boston Celtics.
Booker’s 70 points is the best outing of the season. It also made him the youngest player to ever reach 70 points.
His final stat line, as you might imagine, was ridiculous. Booker shot 21-of-40 from the field, going 4-of-11 on 3-pointers and a whopping 24-of-26 from the free-throw line. The Suns phenom also grabbed eight rebounds to go with six assists.
Despite the loss to Boston, 130-120, it’s still an incredible milestone for Phoenix and for Booker. There’s a bright spot out there for the Suns.
Aaron Gordon may not have had the best dunk contest this year — apparently drones and dunks don’t mix well — but the guy can still get up and finish with the best in the league.
As he did on this alley-oop against Detroit.
Elfrid Payton had to throw a lob that would get over Andre Drummond, but how many guys in the league can get that high, reach back and finish that? Damn.
Former Atlanta Hawk Pero Antic is now playing for Turkish powerhouse Fenerbahce, in case you were not aware.
Fenerbahce was facing Anadolu Efes in a EuroLeague game, it was tight late and former NBA player Ekpe Udoh was at the free throw line for Fenerbahce. He missed his second shot, but the rebound caromed out-of-bounds off an Anadolu Efes player. Antic was pumped.
Maybe a little too pumped.
That was Nikola Kalinic, by the way, the guy Antic now owes dinner to. Kalinic would like the dinner more than the hug and kiss he got from Antic right after the play.
Also, Anadolu Efes held on to win 80-77.
(Hat tip to Ball Don’t Lie.)
The Lakers had been shopping Lou Williams around in the run-up to the trade deadline, the only question was would they get a first-round pick for him. Rumors around the league say that Houston had offered them one weeks before, it was on the table, but the Jim Buss/Mitch Kupchak front office held their cards close and hoped a better deal would come through.
While all that was going on James Harden decided to ease the process and did a little recruiting calling up Williams, the sixth-man guard told Shams Charania of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports.
“When James called, he asked me if I was interested in playing with them,” Williams told The Vertical. “I told him that I loved the Lakers, but James and them have a group that fit my personality, fit how I play. He said he was going to make it happen.”
Williams then laughed, sitting on the edge of a visiting court following a recent practice. “I’ve heard that before, so I didn’t really put stock into it,” Williams told The Vertical. “I guess James did put the word in, and the team made it happen.”
We all know what happened, Jeanie Buss removed her brother and Kupchak a few days before the trade deadline, Magic Johnston stepped in, called around, and quickly pulled the trigger on a trade that sent Williams to Houston (the Lakers also got Corey Brewer). Williams has averaged 14.5 points per game and had some strong performances with the Rockets, although he’s still finding his groove with the team on the court. Still, he’s been an upgrade for the Rockets’ bench.
Harden knew he would be, so he did his part to make sure it happened.