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List of Articles by Jason Aniel



NBA -- Spurning Love for Thompson

By Jason Aniel
PhilBoxing.com
07 Jan 2015


Love.

Oakland, CA—One of the most hotly debated topics during the last offseason for the Golden State Warriors was the team’s attempt to acquire, then, Minnesota Timberwolves, All-NBA Power Forward, Kevin Love. Clearly, both the Warriors and Timberwolves were in close discussion about a potential trade that would have landed Love and guard Kevin Martin in exchange for David Lee, Draymond Green, and Klay Thompson. At the end of the day, it was the Warriors, who refused to include Thompson in the deal for Kevin Love.

Kevin Love was eventually traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers in exchange for number picks Andrew Wiggins and Anthony Bennett (also included were other players in the deal, but the main pieces were Wiggins and Bennett). The majority of basketball fans and the media praised the trade, as Love would join forces with LeBron James and Kyrie Irving for Cleveland’s version of their “Big Three”. The same majority of fans and media also questioned why were the Warriors not willing to part with Thompson. The stats and numbers clearly favored Love over Thompson. Love averaged 26.1 points with 12.5 rebounds a game last season compared to Thompson who averaged 18.4 points at the shooting guard position. Love, at power forward, was considered one of best at his position.

The Warriors were clear on their position. They valued Thompson too much to part with even for Kevin Love. The Warriors’ executive board member, Jerry West, was the main executive at the front offices who wanted to keep Thompson. West, a hall of fame player for the Los Angeles Lakers, has been credited for trading for Kobe Bryant. West, along with head coach Steve Kerr, were Thompson’s biggest supporters.

Fast forward to the new year and 30 plus games into the season, and West’s and Kerr’s faith has been rewards. First, Thompson signed a four-year extension worth 69 million with the team, which showed Thompson’s commitment long-term with the Warriors (something Love has shown with the Cavs, given he has the right to opt of his contract as soon as this coming offseason). There’s also no comparison with the value Thompson has provided with his play on the court as compared to Love with his play with the Cavs.

Thompson is averaging 21 points this year, and is clearly the team’s second option at scoring behind Stephen Curry. Thompson will be in heavy discussion for a spot in the loaded Western Conference All Star team. More importantly, the Warriors have blitzed to a league best 26-5 record.

Meanwhile, Love is playing third wheel to LeBron and Irving because the offense hasn’t been built around Love as it had in Minnesota. Love, who is an excellent offensive player, is also a below average defender with no real low post game. The lack of defense could be a reason why the team is just 19-15.

What is also lost in the debate has been the contribution of Draymond Green to the Warriors this season. During the post-game press conference last Friday after the Warriors’ 126-105 victory over the Toronto Raptors, coach Kerr mentioned that Green should be considered for a defensive player of the year award and for most improved player. Green’s value to the team is measured beyond his impressive stat line of 12.1 points, 8.1 rebounds, and 3.7 assists. Green has been committed on the defensive end of the floor guarding bigger power forwards. Unlike Love, Green does not command that many shot attempts and is a willing passer to both Curry and Thompson. The Michigan State alum has been a winner all of his career, and that passion has also help the Warriors become a winning team. An argument can be made that Green alone is more value to the Warriors for what he does than Love would have been had he gone to the Warriors. That’s not to say Green and Thompson alone are better players than Love, but clearly their value to the what the Warriors have been doing so far can’t be ignored.


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