Tonight marks the first day of All Star Break, a break that the Warriors have desperately needed. After losing five straight games, David Lee, Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Harrison Barnes, are headed to All-Star weekend in Houston to clear their heads. Perhaps competing against others of the same or higher skill level will be beneficial.
Harrison Barnes and Klay Thompson won’t be going head-to-head tonight in the Rising Stars Challenge. These two will be competing along-side each other, with Thompson in the starting lineup. Harrison Barnes will come off the bench, but still, it’s a great day for the Warriors.
Watching Charles Barkley and Shaquille O’Neal must have been nerve-wracking for Thompson, as he wants to learn from the best coaches there are. Being selected by Shaq will be a good experience for both players, as they now have to share the possession of the ball with Damian Lillard and Kyrie Irving: Team Shaq is going to have 170 points.
What to expect from… Klay Thompson:
1. Hot Shooting: He’s a shooter. Shaq said, “I like shooters,” when he chose Thompson. This means that he is going to have to come out and play a huge game. Thompson is one of the best shooters in the league, and when he gets it going, it could mean some trouble for the other team. Lately, he hasn’t been so hot, but I’m sure he’s just looking to come out and have a good time, as part of the “Rising Stars” Challenge.
2. He tries Something New: Thompson is a shooter out there. I’m sure Mark Jackson would much rather have Thompson taking the open three ball, then driving through the trees of other teams. Thompson knows his role as a good defender and shooter. What he doesn’t do in Golden State, he’ll try out in the Rising Stars Challenge. Other than hot shooting, expect Klay to look to send some nasty dunks or reverse layups into the basket.
What to expect from…Harrison Barnes:
1. Dunkfest: Barnes was snubbed from the Dunk Contest, and maybe rightfully so. Barnes, while very athletic, doesn’t have a dunk every game. He has posterized three big men this season, and is looking better than he ever has in the past couple of games. With all the inexperience in this Rookie Sophomore game, I want to see Barnes send one down. Hard. Just like Monta Ellis did his sophomore year.
2. Deep Three Pointers: Like Thompson, Barnes really does know his role. An occasional three point shot is alright, but nothing beats driving to the basket, especially if you can get there at any speed, and at any velocity, and any time that you want. Barnes may shoot some fairly deep three pointers tonight.