Thompson hits the lottery in West's Warriors

KLAY THOMPSON

IT COULD BE said that Jerry West, the Golden State Warriors executive consultant, just helped Golden State draft himself. West was known as Mr. Outside, Mr. Clutch, Mr. All-Around and for being a scoring machine during his playing career. Klay Thompson played all those roles and more while at Washington State.

WSU's Thompson, a lottery pick, was taken by Golden State on Tuesday with the No. 11 pick in the NBA draft. Before the draft, West, who had seen Thompson at a recent private workout, was said to covet the Coug scorer with the No. 11 selection if he were to be available.

Once Milwaukee, the pre-draft favorite to pick Thompson, dealt the No. 10 selection as part of a three-team trade, that cleared the way for Thompson to become a Warrior.

As a first round pick, Thompson will receive a two-year guaranteed contract with a team option for a third guaranteed year. Under the NBA's rookie salary scale, he will make about $2.2 million this season.

The Warriors could feature a formidable scoring backcourt with Thompson playing alongside Stephen Curry and/or Monta Ellis.

"Klay is a perimeter shooter, he's got excellent range. He's good spotting up, very much improved off the bounce over the last year and a half," said ESPN draft analyst Jay Bilas, who also praised his footwork on defense. "This young man can really shoot it.

"He's got good size, good length and..he's unafraid to pull the trigger from deep. He's also a very good passer, (has) a good feel for the game, excellent court vision...I think he's an underrated athlete... I think he's a terrific prospect (who) can really score the ball."

Thompson averaged 21.6 points per game in 2010-11, 11th-highest in the country and tops in the Pac-10, and was named first-team All-Pac-10 for the second straight season.

Thompson's marijuana arrest near the end of the season does not appear to have hurt his stock in the least. Thompson the past few months has vaulted up the projection boards, going from a mid- to late second-round choice to late first rounder, to mid first-rounder and finally, to a lottery pick.

He becomes the highest-ever Cougar taken in the NBA draft, passing Don Collins, the Pac-10 Player of the Year in 1980 who was drafted 18th overall by the Atlanta Hawks.

NOTABLE:
Mychal Thompson, Klay's father, played for the Lakers when West was GM.

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