The Golden State Warriors own the top seed in the Western Conference with a lead of six and a half games. With only 16 contests to play on the regular season, that should be a comfortable lead. However, the loss of shooting guard Klay Thompson for at least five of those games means the Warriors must keep pace in the conference if they want to own the best record come mid-April.
Thompson sprained his ankle after he stepped on Los Angeles Lakers power forward Tarik Black’s foot during the 108-105 win over the Lakers on Monday night. Even though he posted a game-high 26 points in the contest, he was still required to leave the game briefly to tape up his foot.
It was believed that Thompson would remain questionable for Wednesday’s matchup against the Eastern Conference leading Atlanta Hawks, but unfortunately, the optimism quicklyturned into him missing at least seven to 10 days in order to allow the right sprained ankle to heal.
Clearly, resting Thompson when Golden State has a commanding lead on the No.1 seed in the conference is the right call, especially when there is less than a month left in the regular season. At this point, ensuring he is healthy come playoff time needs to be the team’s top priority, which is why the Warriors are smart to not push him.
For people who believe Golden State will be able to coast and maintain with Thompson out of the lineup better think again. The 25-year-old leads the Warriors in three-point field goal percentage (.435), and he is second on the team in points per game (21.9) and minutes per game (32.5).