The Golden State Warriors will be missing one of their top gunners tonight against the Philadelphia 76ers. Guard Klay Thompson has been ruled out tonight with a bad right knee, an injury that will require an MRI. This report originally came from NBC Sports Bay Area.
The Warriors are on a rare 2-game losing streak, dropping both to below .500 teams from the Eastern Conference. They visit a similarly battered Philadelphia team that’s missing centers Joel Embiid (knee tendinits) and Boban Marjanovic (knee sprain). The Sixers enter tonight with a 40-22 record and a No. 4 seed in the East.
Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said Thompson’s knee is “inflamed enough” that “it doesn’t make sense to play him tonight.” No timeable has been announced for his return.
Thompson ranks third on the Warriors with 22 points per game, mostly on the back of his deadly 39.6 percent shooting from behind the arc. He trails only Stephen Curry (28.4 points) and Kevin Durant (27.5).
Here’s the Warriors’ roster outlook and lineup until Thompson returns:
Warriors Roster and Lineup vs. Sixers
Kerr told reporters that Alfonzo McKinnie will step into Thompson’s shoes as the starter. The second-year player out of Wisconsin-Green Bay possesses good range, standing 6-foot-8.
He went undrafted in the 2015 NBA Draft and ended up spending a year in Luxembourg, according to Basketball Insiders. He ended up signing with a team in Mexico before making the roster of the Windy City Bulls, the Chicago Bulls’ G-League affiliate. He made the Toronto Raptors roster in 2017-18, and the Warriors snatched him up the following offseason.
This season in the Bay Area, he has averaged just 14 minutes and 4.7 points per game. He has proven to be a capable shooter in limited time, hitting 57.7 percent of his twos and over 33 percent of his triples.
His season-high came in October against Chicago, as he notched a double-double with 19 points and 10 rebounds in a rout over the Bulls.
Expect Kerr to replace Thompson’s production in aggregate. Alongside McKinnie, he will likely trot out other shooters in wings Andre Iguodala and Jonas Jerebko. The two have combined to score over 12 points a game, with the former earning a reputation as a lockdown defender during his 14-year career.
The Warrior offense is the most lethal in the league, totaling 118.6 points per game. Even if it misses a beat without Thompson, the Curry-Durant duo is a hard assignment for any team. With that said, the Western Conference leaders are coming off just a 96-point outing against the Orlando Magic.
Swapping Thompson out for McKinnie, Iguodala and Jerebko may not be the best answer to that predicament.
Warriors Outlook Tonight vs. Sixers
Embiid and Marjanovic are imposing presences inside for Philadelphia. Without them, Golden State can work their pick-and-roll game to attack inside, which can create open looks on the perimeter.
McKinnie played extended minutes the last time these teams played, which was a 113-104 Sixer victory in Oakland on Jan. 31. Draymond Green and DeMarcus Cousins combined for just 11 points against Embiid and company.
With less size on the interior, there’s a significant chance for an offensive bounceback.