The notion that the Warriors have two of the NBA's better young talents is supported by the selection of second-year guard Klay Thompson and rookie small forward Harrison Barnes to Friday's Rising Stars Challenge, the first big event of All-Star Weekend. But the duo's play on Team Shaq (the squad assembled by Shaquille O'Neal) in a 163-135 loss to Team Chuck (Charles Barkley) showed why many have doubts. Although the annual showcase is an exhibition in sensationalism, Barnes and Thompson were relative nonfactors. Thompson finished with 11 points on 5-of-11 shooting in fewer than 15 minutes. Barnes had 12 points on 5-of-8 shooting in 19 minutes. Neither one's performance registered much on the Richter scale. The show was stolen by Cavaliers second-year point guard Kyrie Irving (32 points). And Denver's Kenneth Faried (40 points and 10 rebounds), the MVP. And Cleveland rookie Dion Waiters (23 points). And Sacramento's Isaiah Thomas (18 points and 10 assists). It was an illustration, albeit superficial, of how Barnes and Thompson are just as likely to blend in as they are to drop jaws. No doubt, part of their inconsistency can be explained by inexperience. Thompson is in his first full season as a starter, and he and Barnes both came out of college early and had a lot thrust on them. But in many ways, the Warriors' hopes for a big splash in the playoffs rests on their shoulders. The three others starters -- point guard Stephen Curry, forward David Lee and center Andrew Bogut -- are all established vets. Curry is still relatively young, but it's hard to imagine him getting dramatically better.
Golden State Warriors duo outshined in Rising Stars Challenge
Oakland Tribune | Feb 16