OAKLAND — Whether it’s a soul-crushing three from Stephen Curry, or pull up elbow jumper from the all-world Kevin Durant, something I constantly grapple with while watching the Golden State Warriors hoop is the thought that someday, it will end.
The Warriors that I grew up watching struggled to be mediocre, but over the last four years, in a salary-cap league, they have won 67, 73, 67 and 58 games. It feels like it’s too good to be true.
After taking a 2-0 series lead over the New Orleans Pelicans in their Western Conference Semifinal series on Tuesday night, I keep asking myself how it’s possible to have a slew of great players, and a franchise full of high character human beings within one organization?
One of those great players — and perhaps the humblest of them all — is Klay Thompson. He’s as selfless an individual as you’ll meet, who just happens to be the owner of one of the best jumpers in NBA history.
The perfect complement to Curry and Durant, Thompson is on the record as saying that he wants to be a Warrior forever. He’s down-to-earth and funny, comes off as a dude you’d want to play video games with or watch a ballgame. He lives free in a world that is highly demanding. On the marquee team in the NBA, Thompson quietly goes about defending the likes of Kyrie Irving, James Harden, and Russell Westbrook.
When the Warriors drafted Thompson back in 2011, little did I know he’d grow into one of the best two-way players in the NBA.
Thompson, 28, is participating in his sixth-straight postseason and looking primed to enjoy his best one yet. Entering Game 2 against the Pelicans, he was shooting a blistering 50 percent from the three-point line while pouring in 23.3 points per game, many of which haven’t grazed the rim while locking down opposing guards.
Efficiency has been Thompson’s middle name, although he struggled in Game 2 (4-of-20 from the floor) against the Pelicans in Curry’s return game.
Obviously, with Curry’s absence for the past six games, Thompson was going to see an uptick in his field goal attempts and touches. In the first two against San Antonio in the first round, he was 23-of-33 from the floor (10-of-14 from three). He’s deadly right now, and looks like he’s having so much fun playing the game his father, Mychal Thompson taught him.
As the Warriors were clowning during Game 1’s decisive 29-7 second-quarter run, Thompson hit back-to-back dagger three’s, while indulging in some hilarious celebrations with his teammates.
There is little doubt that the rest of the league notices his ascension. Earlier this season, Irving was shocked to find out that Thompson had never made an All-NBA defensive team. Last postseason, Draymond Green was perplexed by his snub.
Awards are, however, secondary to Thompson, as he — along with the rest of the bunch — only care about rings.
This is trending towards being his biggest postseason to date. He’ll have many teams trying to pry him away from the Warriors after next season, and that’s obviously a frightening thought for fans.
The fan in me wants to see how long the core four – along with Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston – can continue to destroy their opponents with joy.
Offensively, defensively, we’re witnessing basketball being exhibited at one of the highest levels ever, and Thompson is reminding everyone that he’s one of the main reasons why it all works.
Bonta Hill of 95.7 The Game can be heard from noon to 3 p.m. on the Greg Papa Show. Born and bred in San Francisco, he is a sports junkie who loves to sit in the lab (home), eats breakfast food for dinner and has a newfound love for tequila. Follow at your own risk on Twitter @BontaHill.