Thursday, June 23, 2011

Golden State Warriors select Klay Thompson with the 11th pick

By Kshell

The Golden State Warriors who are now being coached by Mark Jackson selected Washington State Cougars shooting guard Klay Thompson with the 11th pick overall in the 2011 NBA Draft. Thompson is only the second Cougar in their schools history to be a first round pick. The first since Don Collins was picked in the first round in the 1980 draft. This is a big moment for those in Pullman. Thompson who is a good shooter and solid all around player who will fit in nicely for the Warriors. Thompson will get tons of open looks with Stephen Curry and if they choose to keep him Monte Ellis as well. Thompson is a three year player for the Cougars and easily the most talented Cougar they have seen in decades. Thompson leaves behind an interesting legacy with the Cougars that produced some stats but not enough wins. Winning in college doesn't mean much though when it comes to playing in the NBA.

While at the Cougars Thompson never played in the NCAA tournament in his three years. He came to Washington State as the Cougars had made the NCAA tournament in back to back seasons. Thompson in his freshman year at WSU averaged 12.5 points a game, 4.2 rebounds and 1.9 assists. He shot 42.1% from the field, 41.2% from three pointers and 90.3% from free throws. The Cougars went 17-16 but lost in the first round of the NIT tournament. As a sophomore Thompson saw himself make the first team all pac-10 team averaging 19.6 PPG, 5.1 rebounds, and 2.3 assists. He shot 41.2% from the field, 36.4% from three pointers and 80.1% from free throws. The Cougars as a team went just 16-15 and failed to make any tournaments. As a junior Thompson was money for the Cougars averaging 21.6 PPG, 5.2 rebounds and 3.7 assists. He shot 43.6% from the field, 39.8% from three's and 83.8% from free throws. Thompson finally defeated the Washington Huskies as well twice even and scored 43 points against the Huskies in a Pac-10 tournament loss. Thompson led the Cougars to a 22-13 record which saw the Cougars finish in the NIT final four. Although Thompson never went to the NCAA tournament or finished in the top half of the Pac-10 standings he came to play for the Cougars. Thompson is also following in his father's footsteps as well.

For those who didn't know Klay Thompson's dad is Mychal Thompson. Mychal Thompson was selected as the top pick overall in the 1979 NBA draft by the Portland Trail Blazers. The Blazers passed on Larry Bird that draft but unlike their other draft disasters Thompson actually contributed for the Blazers. In seven seasons for the Blazers Thompson averaged 16.7 points per game including a high of 20.8 in his third season with the Blazers. Thompson also averaged 8.8 rebounds per game too with the Blazers. Thompson would later go on to win an NBA championship for the Los Angeles Lakers in 1987 and also play in the 1988 and 1991 NBA finals for the Lakers. If Klay Thompson has the career that his dad has then the Warriors will be glad with their draft pick. I think with Klay Thompson's shooting ability he'll be a good player for the Warriors much like how his dad was for the Blazers.

Now Thompson is going to a struggling franchise in the Golden State Warriors. Since the 1994-95 season they have made the playoffs just once which was in the 2006-07 season when they upset the #1 seeded Dallas Mavericks. Thompson as you saw in his stats is a great shooter which the Warriors need desperatly. With Thompson's size he could be a decent defender as well. Thompson will be looking to be the greatest Cougar ever in the NBA and I think he will be. For those Sonics fans looking to adopt a team I think the Warriors will be that team for those who live on the east side of the state. The Warriors being in the Bay Area some fans I'm sure will probably travel down to see Thompson play in person. I think Mark Jackson can be a good NBA head coach and Thompson I think will be very good player in this league. I don't know if he'll ever make an all-star team but he'll be a guy who plays over a decade in this league much like his father did.

In conclusion, this is a good day for the Cougars to see Thompson get drafted in the first round. When you have players drafted that high that leads to other recruits coming in. Thompson is proof that you can play all the way up in Pullman and still get noticed enough to be drafted. Truth is it doesn't matter where you play or how good your team is if you are good enough you will be noticed in this draft. Thompson is the real deal and the Warriors made the correct pick as he fits their team nicely. I'm sure the Cougar fans are pumped as they should be this is the first first rounder in 31 seasons. Thompson in his three seasons for the Cougars played terrific and now he'll get a chance to do the same in the NBA. Thompson will be a guy who lasts in the NBA for a while and the boys in Pullman will be celebrating tonight. I wish the best for Thompson and as a Husky fan I'll be happy that I'll never have to watch him torch my team again. Good luck Klay and hope the NBA treats you well.

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