It was odd to watch the Golden State Warriors starting lineup take the floor on Tuesday in their preseason contest against the Los Angeles Lakers in Beijing. As one of the most exciting young teams in the NBA took the floor in China, one of their star guards wasn’t with them. Draymond Green trotted onto the floor in place of Klay Thompson.
Given the rate that NBA players have going down with injuries lately, Thompson’s absence from the court obviously sparked some initial worries. However, Thompson came in soon after the start of the game and played 36 minutes, a starter’s workload. It turns out that it wasn’t anything close to an injury that kept him out of the starting five, but instead was something way more trivial and hilarious.
After the game, the Warriors confirmed with Tim Kawakami of the Mercury News that Thompson was not included in the starting lineup because he missed the team bus to the arena and, subsequently, arrived late.
Looking at his play, Thompson didn’t perform as well as he has much of the preseason. He finished with a solid 13 points, three assists, two rebounds, one steal and two blocks, but he shot only 5-17 from the field and just 3-9 from three-point range. However, it’d be silly to try and make a correlation between his uncharacteristically bad game to him missing the bus.
Thompson missing the bus is probably, more or less, an issue with the 23-year-old guard not adjusting fully to the time-difference than it is about some overarching lack of responsibility or something. Thompson is going to be just fine this season and this story is merely a humorous footnote in what will almost surely be a successful season for him.