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sport / / BANG/Kurtenbach: Klay Thompson wants to live in the present. His Warriors future will be rooted in the past

o BANG/Kurtenbach: Klay Thompson wants to live in the present. His Warriors futureAllen

BANG/Kurtenbach: Klay Thompson wants to live in the present. His Warriors future will be rooted in the past


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From: (Allen)
Subject: BANG/Kurtenbach: Klay Thompson wants to live in the present. His
Warriors future will be rooted in the past
Date: Fri, 19 Apr 2024 20:36:38 -0700
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 by: Allen - Sat, 20 Apr 2024 03:36 UTC

Good column. Klay *was* poor on defense in that game (and not just him).

Kurtenbach: Klay Thompson wants to live in the present. His Warriors
future will be rooted in the past
Golden State Warriors: Klay Thompson's final game for the Warriors can't
be his 0-for-10 dud, can it?
>One day after the team’s 118-94 loss to Sacramento, Golden State
Warrior’s Klay Thompson reflects on his season during a press conference
at Chase Center in San Francisco, Calif., Wednesday, April 17, 2024.
(Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group)

PUBLISHED: April 19, 2024 at 2:18 p.m. | UPDATED: April 19, 2024 at 2:46

Klay Thompson wants us to live in the present.

I think he’s living in the past.

But ultimately, we should expect him to be part of the Warriors’ future.

Following what was inarguably his worst performance as a professional
basketball player in the Warriors’ season-ending play-in tournament loss
to the Kings — a game where Thompson’s defense was as poor as his
offense (and he went 0-for-10 from the floor) — it was impossible not to
wonder if the pending unrestricted free agent had played his last game
for the Dubs.

He clearly had the same question, as he made a little show of spinning
around as he walked off the court at Golden 1 Center Tuesday, taking it
all in.

And yet Wednesday, when asked about his future to open his end-of-season
press conference, he decided to put on another little show.

“We don’t want to talk about the season first?” Thompson said. “You want
to talk about the future? There was a lot of games played, man. That was
a pretty big accomplishment. What’s up with y’all not wanting to live in
the present? It’s ridiculous.”

It was ridiculous, but only for Thompson.

There’s a lot to unpack with that opening comment, which was not

To begin, the present is the future for Thompson and Golden State — the
Warriors don’t have any game between now and Thompson’s official start
to free agency. (Plus, we all know behind the scenes, free agency really
started months ago.)

Playing as many games (78) as Thompson did after his two catastrophic
leg injuries is laudable, no doubt. I can understand him not taking that
for granted.

But the actual production in those games deserves — and deserved — scrutiny.

I won’t pin the Warriors’ loss to the Kings solely on Thompson, but he
played a significant role in that pitiful performance. And while the
Warriors coaching staff is culpable for some of those frustrations — he
kept finding himself in positions to fail, particularly on defense,
Tuesday and throughout the season — the player is ultimately responsible
for his play.

It’s important to note that Thompson played a significant role on the
2022 title team, averaging 19 points per game in the playoffs, which
included massive performances to close the Western Conference Semifinals
and Finals.

Last season, 2022-23, he averaged 22 points and hit 41 percent of his
3-pointers. He ran out of gas against the Lakers in the second round,
though. In the final four games of a series that started 1-1, Thompson
averaged 10.5 points per game, including his previous worst-ever
performance, Game 6 in Los Angeles, where he shot 3-of-19 and was a
minus-33 for the contest.

It was a harbinger of things to come.

This past season, Thompson adapted to new roles—first as a de facto
power forward, then as a sixth man—more befitting his current form. He
deserves plaudits for that.

I was shocked to see he averaged 18 points per game this regular season
— pretty good! — given how up and down the campaign was.

But there are nights — Game 6 last year and this past Tuesday were great
examples — where Thompson tries to be the old Klay again. He was living
in the past, trying to be the player he once was — the Hall of Famer,
the two-way star, and perhaps the second-greatest shooter to ever play
the game — instead of the player he is in the present. Those kinds of
nights almost always result in a loss for the Dubs.

And now — like it or not — scrutiny will come not in the form of a
column, but rather in the free agent marketplace.

Will anyone break the bank to pay Thompson the $43 million he made last

I doubt it.

What I don’t doubt is the Warriors’ sincerity in wanting Thompson back.

The Warriors want Thompson back. Given their salary situation, they
cannot reasonably replace his 18 points per game — if he leaves, his
salary will come off the books and cannot be replaced. Good for Joe
Lacob’s luxury tax bill. Bad for the Warriors on the court.

And probably bad for business, too.

Warriors’ Steph Curry explains why 2024 is the right time to make his
Olympic debut
Kerr sees ‘tremendous value’ in Curry, Thompson, Green being Warriors
for life
‘I would love to get him out there more:’ Steve Kerr details Moses
Moody’s inconsistent role with Warriors
Warriors coach Steve Kerr on Draymond Green: “If we decided he wasn’t
worth it … we would have moved off of him years ago”
Mike Dunleavy says ‘everything is on the table’ for Warriors’
offseason. It needs to be.

In the aftermath of the Dubs’ embarrassment Tuesday, I have thought back
to what should have been a forgettable game against the Clippers this
past November.

The Warriors billed the game, played on Nov. 30, 2023, as 11.30.23 — a
night to celebrate the core of the dynasty.

Certainly all three players — Thompson (11), Steph Curry (30), and
Draymond Green (23) — cannot be praised enough for what they have done
for the organization, region, and the sport of basketball. The Warriors
should take every chance to celebrate them.

While the Dubs won that night, paced by 10 straight Thompson points in
the fourth quarter and 26 overall from Curry, the tone of the
celebration felt off.

It was eerily reminiscent of their neighbors’ Forever Giants’ campaign
during their late-decade struggles. It was like a funeral all three

The Warriors organization’s intentions were right, but they were living
in the past, not the present.

And ultimately, I think they’ll continue to do that.

Maintaining the core — 11, 30, and 23 — for the next few years will keep
corporations in the suites, butts in the real seats, and $20 beers in
the cupholders. The arena might be paid off, but the Warriors’ record
label, film production company, and WNBA foray are just a few additional
mouths to feed amid this nearing-11-figure behemoth.

The analytics community might eschew sentimentality, but in this
entertainment business, it’s still gold. If the Warriors go into next
season knowing they can’t win a title in the present — with or without
Thompson — and that the not-too-distant future is grim without Curry at
the helm, they might as well keep living in the past.

sport / / BANG/Kurtenbach: Klay Thompson wants to live in the present. His Warriors future will be rooted in the past


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