Klay Thompson had some interesting comments today about the Warriors’ acquisition of Kevin Durant and what it means for him as a player.
The expectation has been that in order for the star studded lineup to operate smoothly, certain players would have to sacrifice. After all, there’s only so many shots to go around.
Thompson had a very pointed response to those expectations, though, and while it may seem somewhat stubborn on its surface, I understand what he means by it.
He told The Vertical that he has been taking offense to the suggestion that he needs to sacrifice his game now that Durant is here.
“We all want to see each other do well. But I’m not sacrificing (expletive), because my game isn’t changing,” Thompson said. “I’m still going to try to get buckets, hit shots, come off screens. I want to win and have a fun time every game we play.”
— The Vertical (@TheVertical) August 2, 2016
The knee-jerk reaction is to lambast this as a selfish quote, but I don’t think Thompson means any harm by it.
If anything, he seems to be equating “sacrifice” with “passivity,” as in he’s not going to defer more often than normal because he feels as though it’s necessary with so many great players out on the court.
That’s a very good thing. He’s saying that the flow of the game is still going to give him opportunities to contribute on offense, and he’s going to take advantage of it.
Playing his style has allowed the Warriors to be successful up until this point, so to try to fix something that isn’t broken might have drastic consequences.
Of course, precedent states that in these types of situations, one of the player’s statistics will inevitably drop, because there are a limited amount of offensive possessions in an NBA game, and the pie has to be divided up.
Thompson, Durant, Stephen Curry, and Draymond Green will have to allocate their shots somehow, and Durant being added is going to cut into the available shots for Curry, Thompson, and Green. That’s just basic mathematics.
Thompson is making it seem like “sacrificing” is a conscious choice, but it won’t necessarily be. Within the flow of the offense, some guys are going to end up getting more shots than others.
It’s possible for Thompson to play his same exact style and sacrifice through a decrease in points per game and shot attempts per game.
He’s a competitor, and he’s not going to cede opportunities if he thinks he can help the team win. That’s admirable.
He seems to have a negative connotation towards the word “sacrifice,” as if it means passively changing your style to accommodate somebody else.
There’s no reason that Curry, Durant, Green, and Thompson can’t all play their same style, but realistically, somebody’s shots are going to decrease.
From that perspective, sacrifice isn’t a choice; it’s a reality of the situation. Besides, these guys all seem like selfless stars who prioritize winning above all else. If they didn’t, Durant wouldn’t have been pursued, or accepted the Warriors’ offer to come aboard.
If all of them approach the regular season with a commitment to continuing their style, with the acceptance that shot attempts may decrease among one if not all of them, they should be fine.
Winning cures all problems, and each is confident enough in their individual abilities to know what they bring to the team. They are all essential, even if one guy’s stats may tangibly decrease more than another’s stats.