Tag: Jason Thompson

Kevon Looney, Bob Myers

Warriors rookie Kevon Looney out 4-6 months after hip surgery


Once upon a time, UCLA forward Kevon Looney was considered a surefire lottery pick, but concerns about his hip raised red flags around the league. The Warriors took him 30th overall in June, the final pick of the first round of the draft, and they’ve announced that he’ll be out four to six months after undergoing surgery to repair a torn labrum.

Here’s the team’s press release:

Golden State Warriors forward Kevon Looney underwent a successful right hip arthroscopy this morning to repair a torn labrum, the team announced today.  The procedure was performed by renowned Steadman Clinic orthopaedic surgeon and hip specialist Dr. Marc Philippon at the Vail Valley Surgery Center in Vail, Colorado.

Looney will begin rehabilitation from the surgery immediately and is expected to be out a minimum of four-to-six months before returning to basketball activity.

“Kevon has his entire NBA career ahead of him and we felt that, in consultation with our medical staff, Kevon and his representatives, it was best to address the issue now,” said Warriors General Manager Bob Myers. “He will have our complete support throughout the rehabilitation process and we are confident he will make a full recovery.”

The Warriors are in a fortunate position with Looney because they didn’t need much out of him in his rookie season. They’re coming off a historically great season that included 67 regular-season wins and the franchise’s first NBA title in 40 years. Other than trading David Lee and picking up Jason Thompson, their roster is essentially the same as it was last season, which means it’s going to be virtually impossible for a rookie to compete for minutes with the likes of Draymond Green, Harrison Barnes and Andre Iguodala. They drafted Looney because they saw him as more talented than the 30th pick and they could afford to take a long-term, proactive approach with his health. Nipping this issue now, while he’s not needed on the court, makes sense.

Trail Blazers GM Neil Olshey chose chance of greatness over safer route to being merely good

Nerlens Noel, LaMarcus Aldridge

At face value, the Trail Blazers’ and 76ers’ offseasons took completely different approaches to rebuilding this offseason.

The Blazers traded for Noah Vonleh, Gerald Henderson, Mason Plumlee and Maurice Harkless. They signed Al-Farouq Aminu and Ed Davis. They also signed Enes Kanter to an offer sheet, though the Thunder matched.

Philadelphia, on the other hand, highlighted free agency by… signing Pierre Jackson and Scotty Wilbekin, two players without NBA experience. Sure, the 76ers also traded for Nik Stauskas, Jason Thompson and Carl Landry. But Thompson and Landry were the tax necessary to require positive assets, and Philadelphia already flipped Thompson. Even Stauskas, a nice piece, was an afterthought relative to the draft considerations conveyed by the Kings.

Portland acquired five Stauskases – recent first-round picks still looking to find their place in the NBA.

But, as Trail Blazers general manager Neil Olshey tells it, his team has a similar philosophy to the 76ers. Portland is just taking a different route.

Michael Lee of The Washington Post:

Once Aldridge decided to leave, the Blazers didn’t waste their time trying to chase Matthews (who signed a four-year, $70 million deal with Dallas), Lopez (who took a four-year, $52 million deal with New York) or even reserve Arron Afflalo (who left for a two-year, $16 million deal with New York).

Olshey didn’t feel the need to keep together the same core while simply trying to replace a four-time all-star because, “absent LaMarcus Aldridge, that group was not going to be good enough,” he said. “We judge ourselves by high standards and if we can’t compete at the highest levels, then we had to go in a different direction.”

76ers general manager Sam Hinkie has made clear his lengthy and deep rebuild is designed to culminate in championship contention. There are simpler paths to getting good, and Hinkie clearly isn’t taking those. (Matt Moore of CBSSports.com wrote an excellent article on the difference.)

Being great usually requires a superstar. Getting a superstar usually requires a high first-round pick. A high first-round pick usually requires a terrible record.

There is logic behind Philadelphia’s unprecedented multi-year commitment to tanking.

Olshey definitely indicates he has a similar championship-or-bust attitude, and he concluded retaining Wesley Matthews, Robin Lopez, Arron Afflalo and Nicolas Batum after LaMarcus Aldridge joined the Spurs would have taken the Trail Blazers further from a title. They might have been better in the short-term, but those highly paid veterans would have limited Portland’s potential to grow into a great team.

That’s a logical assessment, similar to the one Hinkie made with the Jrue Holiday-led roster he inherited.

At this point, Olshey took a different route than Hinkie.

The Trail Blazers paid a relatively small price for its young veterans, and I like the moves. I wouldn’t be surprised if at least one of Vonleh, Plumlee, Harkless, Aminu and Davis becomes capable of playing a major role on a title contender. It’s a luxury to bet on so many intriguing players.

But the moves come with a cost. Those players are already decent, and they should make Portland better than Philadelphia this season. That means the Trail Blazers effectively moved down in the draft. Maybe the value of these additions offsets that, but Philadelphia has done little to jeopardize its draft position.

Perhaps, Olshey didn’t have a choice. Damian Lillard might have dictated Portland couldn’t fully tank. Just how bad could a team with Lillard really be? The 76ers don’t have anyone near his caliber, so declining to become good now is an easier choice.

Maybe Olshey and Hinkie would have acted differently if they were in the other’s situation. Circumstances matter.

But bottom line: The Trail Blazers and 76ers have the same mindset. They want to be great. They’re not as concerned with being good before that’s possible.

Jason Thompson happy with stability of Warriors after seven years in Sacramento

Los Angeles Lakers v Sacramento Kings

Stability and continuity matter in the NBA.

No team is ever static, but there can be continuity of vision and a player core, and that matters. That’s what wins. It has mattered for the San Antonio Spurs for pushing two decades, and that stability has turned them into the model franchise in the league. More recently, Atlanta finally has some stability of system under Mike Budenholzer and they jumped to the top of the East with 60 wins (even while we debate if they can sustain that).

Then there are the Golden State Warriors. Since new ownership came in they have stuck with their vision and it paid off with a ring and a parade.

After seven seasons in Sacramento, Jason Thompson was traded to the Warriors (via Philadelphia) this summer and is excited by the idea of stability, he told the Associated Press.

“I haven’t been around much winning this past seven years,” said Thompson, sitting in the Warriors downtown practice facility Thursday. “A lot of instability with seven coaches in seven years, 180 teammates and things like that. That doesn’t ever lead to winning. To come to an organization that has and coming off a championship, that’s great for myself.”

The other thing stable organizations do is create competition for playing time — Thompson is going to have to earn minutes that could go to Festus Ezeli or Marreese Speights.

The obvious take away from what Thompson said is another insult piled on the Sacramento Kings. And it is that. But he’s also not wrong or alone. DeMarcus Cousins’ frustrations with the Kings have been over this same issue of instability of system (and players).

I don’t know that the Vlade Divac/George Karl combination is the answer in Sacramento — and I’ve got plenty of questions about their lineup, too — but Vivek Ranadive, stick with one combo and style for a while. Give this plan a chance to take root and work before you decide to rip it out and start over. This isn’t fantasy basketball, stability and continuity matter. A lot.

Warriors trade Gerald Wallace to Philadelphia in exchange for Jason Thompson

Dallas Mavericks v Sacramento Kings

Players have been traded, but it was all about the money.

The Golden State Warriors agreed to send Gerald Wallace to Philadelphia in exchange for Jason Thompson (Wallace had come to the Bay Area in the David Lee trade with Boston). The Sixers also get some cash and the right to swap the lower of Miami or Oklahoma City’s 2016 picks (the Sixers have the rights to both) for the Warriors’ pick. (That pick swap borders on meaningless, Golden State likely has a top three — top five at worst — record next year.)

Why did the defending champion Warriors make this move? To save money at the end of the bench without hurting their rotation. Former Nets executive and now Twitter star Bobby Marks breaks it down, n0ting you need to consider this move in tandem with the David Lee trade.

Thompson, who has spent his entire career in Sacramento not living up to his potential, is not going to see a lot of playing time behind Marreese Speights and Festus Ezeli on the bench. Thompson provides some inconsistent but at times solid defense, and he doesn’t take a lot of shots on offense.

Why do the Sixers make this move? To add some money to the payroll this season — they want to try to get to 90 percent of the salary cap number, which is the salary floor — plus save some money next summer. Wallace will get $10.5 million in this last season of his contract. Thompson makes “only” $6.4 million this season but has a $2.8 million guarantee next season (on a $6.8 million contract). Don’t be shocked if the Sixers just waive Wallace.

Neither guy is going to make a difference on the court for these teams. This was just moving some money around.

Nik Stauskas looking for redemption in Philadelphia

Sacramento Kings Media Day

LAS VEGAS — Nik Stauskas’ rookie year was not pretty.

Touted as one of the best shooters in the draft, taken No. 8 by the Kings, he shot just 28.8 percent on jumpers before the All-Star break. He called it the worst slump of his life. It didn’t help that the Kings’ went through three coaches with three different philosophies in one season, but Stauskas isn’t making excuses.

“Very poor,” were the words Stauskas used to describe his play last season. “I didn’t play the way I wanted to and that’s just on me. That’s just on me. That’s why this summer I’ve taken the time to work as hard as I can so I don’t have to go through that and I can show people the player I am in this league….

“Anyone who has three coaches in a year, there’s not going to be a lot of consistency, whether it’s with minutes or style of play and whatnot. But I can’t use that as an excuse on gameday, I’m out on the floor and I’ve either got to put the ball in the basket or not put the ball in the basket, and I wasn’t doing that last year.”

He’s going to do try and get his redemption in Philadelphia.

He was shipped East as part of a salary dump deal by the Kings that also included Carl Landry, Jason Thompson, a future first-round pick and the right to swap first-round picks in 2016 and 2017  going to Philly for second round draft-and-stash guys Arturas Gudatis and Luka Mitrovic. (Philly won that trade by a mile.)

Stauskas started to show some of his promise under the faster-paced, more open style of George Karl — he shot 42.1 percent from three after the All-Star break. But it wasn’t his offense that kept Karl from trusting him more, it was the defense and he knows that’s where he will need to improve.

There were countless times last year I would go on the floor and I was targeted, right away teams would attack me, and the adjustment to the physicality and defense,” Stauskas said. “It’s an adjustment and I’m just getting better every day on it.”

That work was put on hold for a couple weeks after he rolled his ankle this summer, but Stauskas said his ankle is better now, and there was no structural damage.

With Jahlil Okafor and Nerlens Noel in the paint, if Stauskas can knock down threes to space the floor, and if he can play at a fast pace, Brett Brown is going to give him some run.

Stauskas is going to get a second chance to make a first impression. He just wants the one in Philadephia to go much better than that first attempt.