Klay’s dad identifies Dubs’ biggest potential playoff weakness originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
As the Warriors make a push for the NBA playoffs, Mychal Thompson believes their latest loss to the Los Angeles Lakers showcased a problem that will haunt Golden State in the weeks to come.
Klay Thompson’s dad, a two-time NBA champion himself, joined KNBR’s “Murph & Mac” show Monday, where he was asked why the Warriors lost three of their four games against the Lakers this season following a 113-105 loss Sunday at Crypto.com Arena.
“I’ve been talking about this all year long, but nobody wants to listen to me up there in the Bay,” Mychal Thompson said. “You’ve got to get bigger. Last night, it was old school basketball — the Lakers had this dominant guy [Anthony Davis] in the middle, and they used him. …
“Kevon Looney being the biggest guy for the Warriors could be a problem in the playoffs. Kevon plays his heart out, but sometimes the size can just weigh you out in the paint, and if you’re going to beat the Warriors, you can’t outshoot them, so you’ve just got to go inside and try to beat them up in the paint.”
Thompson pointed out the league’s best bigs, like Nikola Jokić and Joel Embiid, who provide an offensive spark while serving as key defenders. The Warriors sought a power forward/center who could space the floor and make an impact in the paint at the NBA trade deadline, but to no avail — leaving the 6-foot-9 JaMychal Green as backup “big” to the similarly sized Looney.
But it has been clear for years that Warriors coach Steve Kerr is comfortable with a team lacking traditional size, from the Death Lineup of the past to last season’s NBA championship small-ball approach that torched opposing teams.
In Thompson’s eyes, that strategy won’t work for Golden State this season.
“You can’t drive your car looking in the rear-view mirror,” Thompson said. “You’ve got to look in the windshield. This year, it looks like size is important. Yeah, they got away with it last year, but this year it’s going to be tough.
“The Warriors scrap and play their hearts out, but since they’re so small, Steve Kerr’s got to emphasize everybody’s got to have a foot in the paint when the shot goes up. … Because as Pat Riley once said, ‘No rebounds, no rings.’ That holds true to this day.”
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And as the Western Conference’s current No. 5 seed, with either the play-in tournament or a playoff berth on the horizon, only time will tell if Golden State’s lack of size will hold them back from defending their title as NBA champions.