Klay Thompson is a pure shooter. He is out there to knock down jumpers, and while he can do a few other things on the court he gets paid to be one of the better sharpshooters in the league (although second best on his team).
He’s not a lockdown defender. He works on that end, but that’s not his wheelhouse. Yet last season he was often given the defensive assignment of the best perimeter player on the other team. He did his best.
“It is a relief,” Thompson said from the Warriors’ downtown Oakland facility Wednesday. “Going up against the best guy every night was fun, but now I can focus on exerting just as much energy on the offensive end as I was on the defensive end.
“Last year, when I was busting my tail to chase Tony Parker around a triple screen and then tried to do the same thing on the offensive end, it got tiring. I’m not going to lie,” Thompson said. “But this year, we have so much balance and so much depth that you can play your hardest and get a blow without there being a drop-off.”
While the Warriors offense picked up the second half of last season and should be solidly in the league’s top third this season, the defense last season was pedestrian. If Golden State is going to take a step forward off the 47 wins and second round of the playoffs it will be because of improvement on the defensive end.
Iguodala, along with a healthy Andrew Bogut, are the keys to that defense. Thompson will get his breaks. And everyone in Golden State will be happy with that arrangement.
Gordon Hayward dunks on Giannis Antetokounmpo, Thon Maker (videos)
The Lakers took on the salary of Jose Calderon this year so they could get a couple second-round picks from the Bulls (Chicago got him from New York in the Derrick Rose trade), but even with the previous regime in Los Angeles the aging point guard was never part of the future.
Sources told ESPN that it’s not yet a certainty Calderon will secure his release from the Lakers in the coming days, but the sides are indeed discussing the options as Wednesday’s playoff eligibility deadline nears….
Sources say that Calderon, if he winds up hitting the open market, would instantly become a target for both the Golden State Warriors and the Houston Rockets.
Cleveland may also have interest if their plan to land Deron Williams when he is bought out by Dallas goes awry.
Calderon, 35, was not part of the Lakers’ regular rotation, playing in just 24 games. He can still knock down a shot if he has space and can set his feet, and he still has a high hoops IQ and can see the floor, but his athleticism has faded, and that can leave him exposed. Particularly on defense.
Players are being waived now so they clear in time for teams to sign them by March 1, after that said players are not eligible for playoff rosters.
There are better players to hit the waiver wire in the coming days — D-Will, Andrew Bogut, Matt Barnes — but Calderon is going to land somewhere. He’d be a solid third point guard and veteran presence for a playoff run.
Marquese Chriss blocks Bobby Portis, who gets testy (video)
The time off during the All-Star break did Dwyane Wade some good.
The Bulls guard turned back the clock on Friday night, leading the Bulls with 23 points and topping it off with this dunk that proved to be the dagger, sealing a Chicago win. The Suns were convinced Wade was going to run the shot clock way down before making his move and they lollygagged into position — so he just blew past everyone for the poster slam.