Game #9, Golden Years

Kelley L Cox-US PRESSWIRE

In the 9th game on their quest to go 79-3, the Minnesota Timberwolves take on the Golden State Warriors.

In today's edition of the Game Day thread, we take part in a Q&A with our excellent sister site, Golden State Of Mind. Here is me asking 5 questions to GSoM's Nate Parham about his favorite team.

1- Why do people think Klay Thompson is good? Can you please explain this to me?

I think the obvious answer is that some people read too much into
Thompson's finish to last season when he was scoring a lot of points
and showing signs of growth: he was like a glimmer of light in the
dark purgatory of needing to tank to keep a lottery pick.

But ultimately, I think Thompson is both over- and underrated in
different ways. Until he gets better driving to the basket - and he's
showing signs of that this season - he's not going to be the lethal
scorer that some people think he is; defenders will just crowd him and
he hasn't always done well with contact in his short NBA career. But I
also think people have underestimated what he does beyond scoring
since the time he was a draft prospect - he's a better passer/decision
maker than people thought he was out of college and while he's not a
lockdown defender by any means he's also a pretty good team/position
defender as Zach Lowe recently observed.

Honestly, when the Warriors drafted him I figured he'd be best as a
3-4th option, maybe even off the bench on a strong playoff team where
he could come in and give a team some scoring punch. He has exceeded
my expectations thus far, but he has enough to improve upon that I'd
say my expectations remained tempered even during his scoring
outbursts last season.


2- Harrison Barnes was one of the most overrated college prospects of the past 3-5 years. How is he doing in his first few NBA games?

What bothered me most about the Barnes hype leading up to the draft
was that people kept calling him a great shooter when he wasn't
actually making a lot of shots - I was not at all excited about the
pick after all of that tanking, though I knew that all the other
options had their share of flaws as well. So we're generally in
agreement that the way he was talked about as a prospect was somewhat
bizarre.

However, I'm starting to see what the Warriors saw in him: having
watched some of his sophomore season at UNC, summer league, and the
preseason, this guy learns, adjusts, and improves at a somewhat
remarkable rate. As an example, a major reason for his relatively
inefficient scoring in college was that he took a lot of off-balance,
contested shots - he really is a good shooter when his feet are set.
So far this season, he has cut down on those ill-advised shots
dramatically and seems to have a better recognition than he did in
college or summer league of when to just use the athleticism that
showed up in the combine to go to the rim. Watching that
transformation happen just over the course of 7-8 months in different
situations is promising. Along with that, he's gone for a guy who was
almost an automatic turnover after 2-3 dribbles in summer league to
someone who uses his dribble a bit more judiciously to avoid silly
errors (though he's still not the most efficient ball handler).

All-in-all, I think people just have to manage expectations with
Barnes - it's hard to say how far his work ethic and intelligence can
take him, but it's fair to say right now that there's plenty of reason
for optimism.

3- If you would replace just one part on just one player, would it be Steph Curry's ankle or Andrew Bogut's lower body?

Four months ago, I would have told you Curry's trick ankle would be
the one to replace simply because it appears to be a chronic problem
that isn't going away - it's seriously still at the point to me where
every movement he makes frightens me.

But as of today with Bogut out indefinitely, I have to say I would
just replace his lower body - the effect he could have on the team's
defense is so huge that I'd rather have him for sure for 82 games and
run the risk that Curry is able to play the majority of games on his
fragile ankle.

4- Has Marc Jackson grown on the fanbase?

5- What one part of the Golden State team/roster/whatever will surprise Wolves fans?

Andris Biedrins will play significant minutes with Bogut out. He might
even play well. He might even make a free throw. If you're really
lucky, he might even make two in a row as we saw at Oracle on Saturday
night.

Don't miss Andris Biedrins making free throws. Go see this game.

Well folks, that about does it. Hopefully the walking wounded will be able to field more than 9 players tonight.

Until later and go Wolves!

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