Klay Thompson Receiving Undeserved Scrutiny

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Falling Out of Love

Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

The Warriors, as an organization, made the decision to not sell the farm for Love. Saying that the Warriors’ decision centered around them choosing Klay Thompson over Love absolutely ignores all the other variables that also required careful consideration. It’s in generalizing the team’s decision to stick with their beliefs in team continuity that Thompson is unfairly singled out as the one person that blocked the Love trade.

There’s a huge difference between acknowledging that Love is better than Klay Thompson and being outright disrespectful. What’s most alarming about all of this is that in a few instances, Thompson is still subjected to a complete and utter lack of respect. Thompson, who was handpicked to represent the United States at this year’s FIBA World Cup and highly regarded among the NBA’s elite, deserves better than that. Sure you can say that part of the job is being placed under a spotlighted microscope, and Thompson reportedly has taken everything like a good sport, but there’s a line that shouldn’t be crossed and that line has long since faded from existence.

As it stands, Thompson’s position as the Love trade scapegoat unfairly puts a great deal of pressure on him to prove he was worth holding out on. Grantland writer Jason Concepcion elaborates:

"Love is a star and Thompson — a nice player, excellent shooter, and solid defender — is not. Yet the thinking behind the non-move is reasonable despite the gulf in talent between the two players. It’s certainly the safe move; it’s a choice between known and unknown risks. Thompson can continue to act as the comb-over for Steph Curry’s defensive bald spot, the chemistry remains intact (an underrated aspect with Curry already discomfited over the dismissal of Mark Jackson), and, of course, we all get the added benefit of calling two guys Splash Brothers. It’s a move that says the Warriors trust incoming coach/Joe Lacob golf buddy Steve Kerr to improve the surprisingly pedestrian offense (12th in the league last season) while maintaining the team’s top-three defensive form. All of which is to say this: No pressure, Klay Thompson, but you kinda have to be a soul-snatching backcourt murderer next season. At the very least, you need to tighten up that handle."

The media has painted a huge target on Klay Thompson’s back, no doubt about that. Thompson may still need to tighten up his handle a bit, but there’s no reason to think the team is losing their handle as one of the NBA’s elite just because they lost out on Love.

While having Love in the Bay was certainly a dream, the Warriors are still likely to make a respectable run in the playoffs without Love. Coach Kerr and the entire organization seem not only confident in Thompson, but with the entire roster. Now it’s a just process of finding how to make the most of what they have.

With Love now going to the Cleveland Cavaliers to join King James and Kyrie Irving in an attempt to take the East and win a title, many still see the Warriors making the wrong move by overvaluing Thompson.

However, in an interesting turn of events, recent reports show that Thompson possibly wasn’t the main factor in the Warriors refusing to trade for Love. According to Fansided writer Bryan Rose, Love was refusing to give the Warriors assurance that he’d sign there long term.

Having James personally ask Love to go to Cleveland was possibly the biggest factor behind the latter choosing CLE over GSW, but allow me to indulge you one last time with some speculation:

What if another factor behind Love not wanting to assure the Warriors of an extension was because Love’s “intrigue” of playing with the Warriors included playing with Klay Thompson?

“You never know what’s going to happen, and ultimately that’s not my job. I’m coaching the team that’s here, but there’s no question that we feel very confident and comfortable with the group that we have.” – Steve Kerr

It would make sense considering the bright future Klay Thompson still has at just 24 years old, as well as the fact that Love and Thompson are childhood friends having played Little League baseball together.

A tandem consisting of Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Kevin Love looks much more impressive than just Curry and Love, and Love likely was hoping the three of them to grow to be a force in the West. Upon hearing that Minnesota was insisting on Thompson, Love likely felt more inclined to possibly join James in Cleveland, but that’s all speculation meant for another time.

Nevertheless, the Warriors now have to move on from the Love matter and focus on how to improve the roster with the pieces they have. They have Kerr drawing up new plans for the team and some new players looking to make a huge contribution; now all they need is for young players like Thompson to come into next season better than ever.

Chances are he’ll do just that.