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.
This season, Andre Iguodala gets that assignment. And Thompson is plenty happy about that, he told the San Francisco Chronicle.
“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.
Miami felt set at point guard with Goran Dragic starting and the up-and-coming Tyler Johnson as his backup. They decided veteran Beno Udrih wasn’t part of the future and waived him.
Detroit, looking for some help at the one until Reggie Jackson returns, saw a dependable veteran guard on the market. So they snapped him up, reports Shams Charnaria of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports.
At age 34 we are seeing Ulrich’s game start to slip. Still, he has valuable NBA skills as a point guard: he doesn’t turn the ball over, can run an offense, and if you ignore him coming off a pick he will bury the shot.
Jackson is expected to be out at least another six weeks after getting PRP therapy to deal with knee tendonitis (he hopes to be back sooner). That leaves Ish Smith as the starting point guard in the short term; Udrih will help provide solid depth at the position.
The Pistons need to keep their heads above water until Jackson can return.
The first 12 years of the NBA’s salary-cap era went without a lockout. The league again avoided a lockout for a dozen straight years between 1999 to 2011.
Now, with a new Collective Bargaining Agreement coming soon, the NBA is setting itself up for another 12 years of labor peace.
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:
The NBA and National Basketball Players Association are working on a seven-year extension to the Collective Bargaining Agreement, with a mutual opt-out in six years, league sources told The Vertical.
The seven-year deal could potentially deliver the NBA labor peace through the 2023-24 season, unless the opt-outs are exercised in 2022, league sources told The Vertical.
The new CBA will begin with the 2017-18 season.
Expect an opt out after six years. By then, there’s usually something to renegotiate.
Hope for another quick resolution, like we’re getting now.
And if neither the owners nor players opt out, be pleasantly surprised at an unprecedented 13th straight year without a lockout in this era.
The Rockets entered the day with five point guards with guaranteed salaries: James Harden, Patrick Beverley, Pablo Prigioni, Tyler Ennis and Gary Payton II.
That seemed like too many, but Houston had just 15 players – the regular-season roster limit – with guaranteed salaries. There didn’t seem to be urgency to drop a player with a guaranteed deal.
Yet, the Rockets will drop two.
Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey announced today that the team has waived guard/forward P.J. Hairston, forward Le’Bryan Nash, and guard Gary Payton II.
Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports:
Barring another move, this opens the door for Houston to keep Bobby Brown (whose biggest impact in the preseason was causing an international incident) and Kyle Wiltjer, a stretch big who went undrafted out of Gonzaga.
The Rockets come out behind in their trade for Ennis. They have could have just waived the player they dealt, a lower-paid Michael Beasley, and saved a little money.
Payton, undrafted out of Oregon State, is an intriguing project. But Brown is probably more capable of helping now, a bigger factor for that roster spot with Beverley injured.
The Thunder waived a former No. 21 pick who still had two years left on his rookie-scale contract and a 33-year-old journeyman.
The latter was the surprise.
The Oklahoma City Thunder waived forwards Mitch McGary and Chris Wright along with guard Ronnie Price and center Kaleb Tarczewski, it was announced today by Executive Vice President and General Manager Sam Presti.
At this point, Oklahoma City waiving Mitch McGary was completely expected. Facing 15 games of drug suspension with no proven track record of NBA sustainability, McGary was an easy cut on a team with a roster crunch.
Price signed a fully guaranteed two-year contract worth nearly $5 million this offseason, and teams don’t generally waive players so soon after guaranteeing them multiple seasons (even if guaranteeing them multiple seasons was questionable in the first place). This opens the door not only for Semaj Christon to make the regular-season roster, but to serve as Russell Westbrook‘s primary backup at point guard with Cameron Payne injured.
Christon, the No. 55 pick in the 2014 draft, also signed this summer (with just a $200,000 guarantee). After leaving Xavier, he spent a year on the Thunder’s D-League affiliate then a year overseas. Perhaps, he’s ready for a regular role without the safety net of a veteran like Price behind him, but this sure seems like another case of Oklahoma City overrating its developmental system. See previously: Josh Huestis.