The Golden State Warriors took a big step in becoming a serious contender with their performance in the playoffs last year. After beating the Denver Nuggets in the first round, they played very well against the San Antonio Spurs in the Western Conference Semifinals. If it wasn’t for another famous Stephen Curry ankle sprain, who knows what would’ve happened the rest of the series.
The Warriors have an exciting young core of players including Curry, Harrison Barnes and Klay Thompson. They also brought in Andre Iguodala to be that shutdown defender on the wing and should be competing for best in the West in 2013 if they stay healthy. But, the player I want to focus on here as being poised to have a breakout year is Thompson.
He has improved in each of his first two seasons in the league, bumping his scoring average from 12.5 in his rookie year to 16.6 points per game in year two. Thompson had some great games in his first career postseason action, including 34 points in a Game 2 win against the Spurs. However, he also scored only 10 points or less in six of 12 postseason games.
Many questioned what the Iguodala move meant for Thompson and Barnes. But if one game is any indication, I would say it helped Thompson immensely. In his debut last night, he scored 38 points on 15-of-19 shooting and 5-of-7 from three. With Barnes sitting out with injury, Thompson started alongside Iguodala and I think head coach Mark Jackson will realize that this is the best move for the team going forward.
Thompson can flat-out score as he showed last night. Putting him on the wing with a guy like Curry will make the Warriors a dangerous team for years to come. Expect Thompson to put up even better numbers in year three because of the added weapons around him, including Iguodala and a healthy David Lee. The Warriors are going to be scary good offensively this season, and Thompson is one of, if not the major reason for that.