The gravity of Steph
Though Curry has been off the floor for about 18 percent of Thompson’s minutes in The Finals, he’s been on the floor for 19 of Thompson’s 20 3-pointers (or 95 percent of them).
You would think that Thompson would shoot more with Curry off the floor. But that hasn’t been the case. Thompson has had a lower usage rate with Curry on the bench (19.7 percent) than he has with Curry on the floor (22.7 percent), and he’s managed to launch just four 3-point attempts in those 27 minutes that Curry has been resting.
In one of the biggest shots of Game 5 — Thompson’s 3-pointer that put the Warriors back within three with 2:32 to go in the game — was a clear illustration of how Thompson gets more and better looks when his “Splash Brother” is on the floor.
With 13 seconds left on the shot clock, Draymond Green slipped a screen for Curry and immediately went to set another screen for Thompson. But both Green’s and Curry’s defenders (Lowry and Fred VanVleet, respectively) stayed with Curry …
That left one defender (Leonard) to guard the ensuing Thompson/Green pick-and-roll. And when Green set a solid screen (no slip this time) on Leonard, Thompson stepped into an open, pull-up 3-pointer before Lowry could rotate over …
The Raptors might prefer that Norman Powell rotate off of Quinn Cook in the corner in that situation, but that’s a tough double-action to defend, and give a ton of credit to …
- Curry for getting off the ball so quickly.
- Green for knowing the Raptors would be outnumbered on the weak side.
- Warriors coach Steve Kerr for, as ESPN’s Jeff Van Gundy noted on the broadcast, having Cook (more of a shooting threat) on the floor instead of Iguodala.
Two possessions later, Curry tied the game with a catch-and-shoot 3-pointer where he got a step on VanVleet via an exchange with Thompson. The possession after that, Thompson was again the beneficiary of the attention paid to his point guard.
After a Leonard miss on the other end of the floor, Curry pushed the ball down the floor and shook VanVleet, drawing Lowry’s help …
When Curry passed the ball to Iguodala under the basket, Leonard left Thompson to protect the rim. Two rapid passes later, Leonard was scrambling back to Thompson, who side-stepped the close-out and drained the eventual game-winning bucket …
Thompson is generally a better shooter off the catch (42.8 percent on catch-and-shoot 3-pointers over the last three years) than off the dribble (39.3 percent on pull-up 3-pointers over the last three years), but his percentage on the latter has improved (from 31 percent in 2016-17 to 43 percent this season). And in this series, he’s a remarkable 7-for-9 on pull-up 3-pointers, including 4-for-4 when he’s dribbled once.
A close-out that makes him put the ball on the floor (like Leonard’s on that last play) hasn’t done much to deter him.
Report: Pau Gasol to join Trail Blazers
Free agent center Pau Gasol has agreed to a one-year deal with the Portland Trail Blazers, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
Free agent Pau Gasol has agreed to a one-year deal with the Portland Trail Blazers, league source tells ESPN.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 24, 2019
Gasol, 39, who was limited to just 30 games last season because of a variety of injuries, has career averages of 17.0 points and 9.2 rebounds over 17 NBA seasons.
Report: Furkan Korkmaz returning to 76ers
Free agent forward Furkan Korkmaz has agreed to a two-year contract to return to the Philadelphia 76ers, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
Free agent forward Furkan Korkmaz has agreed to a two-year contract to return to the Philadelphia 76ers, agent Mike Lindeman of Excel Sports tells ESPN.
Korkmaz, 21, brings back a rotational forward with the ability to spread the floor with his shooting. The loss of JJ Redick in free agency – and Kyle Korver’s decision to choose Milwaukee over Philadelphia – brought some increased urgency to keep Korkmaz on the Sixers roster.
The 21-year-old Korkmaz, who was the 26th overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, averaged 5.8 points and 2.2 rebounds in 14.1 minutes last season.
Report: Kevin Love to withdraw from World Cup
Cavaliers forward Kevin Love is the latest player expected to withdraw from Team USA’s training camp for the FIBA World Cup, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania.
Sources: Cleveland Cavaliers star Kevin Love is expected to withdraw from Team USA’s training camp for World Cup. Toronto Raptors All-Star Kyle Lowry remains committed on USA roster and is expected to be recovered from thumb surgery and return midway through camp in L.A.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) July 24, 2019
This news comes just one day after Damian Lillard reportedly withdrew from the World Cup. Love, who played in just 22 games last season because of a shoulder injury, averaged 17.0 points and 10.9 rebounds in 2018-19.
During the previous two weeks, James Harden, Anthony Davis, Eric Gordon, Zion Williamson and CJ McCollum reportedly decided not to compete in the World Cup this year.
Although the guard ranks will be somewhat depleted of NBA stars, Team USA continues to have a deep pool of players available.
Team USA still has strong blend of youthful players and veterans; this summer’s training camp will provide platform for emerging young players such as Donovan Mitchell, De’Aaron Fox, Jayson Tatum, Kyle Kuzma and Myles Turner, with gritty vets like Lowry, PJ Tucker and Thad Young. https://t.co/b8T16mdn8G
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) July 24, 2019
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