Golden State Warriors: 20-1
If Klay Thompson ends up getting that big extension prior to the Oct. 31 deadline, then he should consider giving a portion of it to new Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr, whose opened-up offense has been generating nothing but quality seems for the shooting guard throughout the preseason.
Thompson can keep the majority of the money; the huge majority of his improvement has to do with killer assurance and a perfect launch. We can’t credit Kerr for those items.
What is happening with Thompson is a symptom of a larger change in Golden State–one that is giving rise to the expectation that last year’s 51-win effort was just the start.
B/R’s Howard Beck chronicled the difficulties with former head coach Mark Jackson’s strategy of attack:”The crime too frequently stalled and stagnated, resulting in muddled isolation plays and contested jumpers. There was little motion or dynamism, and small awareness of cohesion.”
Already one of the league’s top defensive outfits (the Warriors rated third in defensive performance last year), Kerr’s club is moving the ball beautifully on crime. Andrew Bogut and David Lee, great passers both, are currently hubs of this attack, and Stephen Curry, Andre Iguodala et al. are feasting on cuts, flares and brush displays.
All this, and Kerr has only had a couple of months to install the fundamentals of his admittedly complicated scheme.
If Golden State gets beyond the turnovers that hurt it last year and continued to crop up during the preseason, it is the team with the best opportunity to take among the West’s best three spots from the Oklahoma City Thunder, the Los Angeles Clippers or even San Antonio Spurs.
If that happens, Thompson won’t be alone in owing a debt to Kerr. Fans across the Bay Area will be right there with him.
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