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Klay Thompson isn’t a savior, but he brings tremendous shooting makeover to Mavericks

Despite a rocky end to his time with the Warriors, Thompson still brings shooting which Dallas lacked in the playoffs.

Winning changes everything, as Michael Finley reminded us at Tuesday’s presser, his case made simply by the presence of the Hall of Famer at his left elbow. Winning also gives you the benefit of the doubt. The Mavs weren’t afforded any such grace the last time they acquired a HOFer. Think what might have happened if the Mavs had actually beaten Boston. Dan Patrick might have given Patrick Dumont his casino, let alone a key to the city.

Back in the day we questioned how Kyrie Irving could play nice with Luka Doncic. Now you might reasonably wonder how Jason Kidd will manage a starting lineup that includes Luka, Kyrie and Klay Thompson, which seems like at least one too many HOF guards, much less superstar egos.


But that’s a question for another day, if at all. Having proved the doubters wrong about the possibilities of Luka and Kyrie, the Mavs have earned a little faith in their process. At least until actual results suggest otherwise.


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Thompson, for one, looks like he’s still getting used to the notion that Steph Curry is no longer a fraternal twin. Asked Tuesday if it all seemed a little “surreal,” he didn’t brush it off. In fact, he appeared a little dazed initially at the prospects of explaining how a guy who’s won four titles and loves the ocean ended up in land-locked, football-crazy Dallas.

First, start with the notion that the Mavs’ chances of going back to the NBA Finals look better than the Golden State Warriors’ these days.


Better yet, there’s the distinct possibility that starting over someplace else really might be best for him as well as the Mavs.

Consider his candid answer when asked if his last season with Golden State had wrung his joy out of the game.

“There were times last year when it was pretty tough,” he said after a pause. “You know, everyone expects you to be that All-NBA player. Sometimes it’s hard to consistently do that. Coming here is such a fresh start.


“Feeling wanted again.”

Dallas welcomes Klay Thompson

The nice thing about coming to Dallas — besides, you know, playing next to Luka and Kyrie as well as a cast of hard-working, blue-collar types that now includes Naji Marshall and Quentin Grimes, all coached by one of your idols — is the perspective of fans and media here. Back in the Bay Area, he’d not only fallen from the starting rotation, he’d fallen from grace. Didn’t help his legacy any by going 0 for 10 from the field for a big, fat donut in Golden State’s play-in loss to the Kings.

Fair or not, Thompson’s last official act as a Warrior came to symbolize the end of the NBA’s last great dynasty. For some diehards, there’s no forgiving a sin of that size.

The fact is that Thompson’s sharp descent from All-NBA and a member of the All-Defensive team has been a long time coming. Pretty much since he missed two seasons of his prime because of a couple significant injuries. Basically, at 34, he’s a spot-up shooter who could probably get you a few stops in a pinch.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that, if you were wondering. Despite what Nico Harrison told us during exit interviews a few weeks ago, when he claimed against all evidence that the Mavs got enough offense from their bench and that the makeup of the top seven or eight players wouldn’t change, they knew they couldn’t run it back with the same bunch. Finley called it “obvious” during their playoff run. Better shooting in the finals, the Mavs’ VP said, would have given them “a better chance to win those games.”

Like a lot of us, Thompson may not be what he once was, but he can knock down four or five 3s a game.

Or as he put it, “You still can’t leave me open.”

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A host of Mavs’ playoff opponents practically begged anyone other than Luka or Kyrie to give it a heave. Occasionally someone obliged, but not consistently enough to make anyone stay up all night concocting innovative defensive schemes. The result was that Luka and Kyrie encountered more traffic than Central at rush hour.

Math was never one of my strengths, but even I know you can’t double three guys.

Even though he’ll take Derrick Jones Jr.’s former position, Thompson essentially replaces Tim Hardaway Jr., whose 14.4 points per game belied his stature in the playoffs, where he all but disappeared. Thompson isn’t just an upgrade; he’s a Chip-and-Joanna-caliber makeover. Don’t forget Thompson shot 38.7% from the arc. Also 92.7% on free throws, which were anything but free for the Mavs.


From my perspective, no one here should expect Thompson to be anything more than what he was for the Warriors last season. Not a savior. Not one half of the best offensive backcourt in league history. Just a guy who could knock down a 3 when you need it. My guess is he’ll have no objections to playing third wheel.

His standing on these Mavs can be summed up by the fact that he won’t even get to wear his usual No. 11. Kyrie owns the rights to that number. Thompson will wear 31, which, as he noted, once belonged to a member of the Mavs’ only title team. Jason Terry was no Hall of Famer, but, if all Thompson does is put up Jet’s numbers, it’ll be enough. If he helps the Mavs to a title, too, it might even get him a statue.

Twitter/X: @KSherringtonDMN

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