One of the highlights of the New Orleans Pelicans and Golden State Warriors matchup will be the first NBA meeting and celebrated Bahamian connection between Buddy Hield and Klay Thompson.
Both teams come in looking for their first win after losses in their respective debuts and both players look to improve individually.
Thompson, son of Bahamian basketball icon Mychal Thompson (former No.1 overall pick and two time NBA champion), previewed the matchup between the two.
“I’m excited to play against him, I’ve been watching Buddy play since he was a freshman at Oklahoma. I remember seeing him play then and I didn’t know he was Bahamian,” Thompson said, “When someone told me that I was like ‘Wow he could be the next one.’ I’m proud of him that he’s here, I know he’s really hungry and I’m just excited to compete against him. He’s got a real bright future in this league.”
Many pundits have projected Hield’s NBA game to be comparative to Thompson’s due to their outside shooting and movement without the ball.
“I see it. At that age he might be a little more explosive than I was. He’s strong too. I like how he has no conscience when he shoots,” Thompson said, “I’m proud of him, it’s not easy to make it from the Bahamas to the NBA. I think he’s third in line after Rick Fox and my pops so I’m proud of him.”
Thompson vowed to be better than his uncharacteristic 11 point performance in a 29 point loss to the San Antonio Spurs Tuesday at Oracle Arena in Oakland, California.
“It was pretty bad, myself, I was unusually bad. I didn’t bring the energy I should but I’m going to make up for it Friday,” Thompson said Wednesday following Warriors’ practice, “It was a weird feeling, no one really enjoyed it but we got some good work I and made a positive light out of it.There were times I was too lazy and not getting after those loose balls like I should have. Regardless if it was October 25th I have to play with more edge. I will. I know I will.”
Thompson, the two-time All-Star, shot just 5-13 from the field and 1-6 from three point range.
“I had like four open threes which were short which means I have to get my legs into it, which I will do Friday,” he said, “That was a good wake up call for us. We realize it’s a long season and we don’t want to peak in November-December we want to peak in May-June but its time to take every game serious, it doesn’t matter of it’s the regular season. It’s a matter of pride.”
Hield also struggled in his season debut with four points and three assists on 2-8 shooting, 0-3 from three.
Always a strong presence in the Bahamas, both Mychal and Klay are frequent participants in the annual Jeff Rodgers Summer Basketball Camp, while Klay’s brother Mychel was a member of the Bahamas’ national team at the 2014 Centrobasket tournament.
The Pelicans and Warriors face off Friday at 9:30pm local time at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans, Louisiana. The game will be broadcast live on ESPN.