OAKLAND – The NBA champion Warriors on Thursday introduced their newest player, Jason Thompson, who has about eight weeks to prepare for culture shock.
After seven years of hard time with the woeful Sacramento Kings and three weeks offseason duty with the dreadful Philadelphia 76ers, the power forward is joining an organization that in a relatively short span has become a member of the league’s elite.
“It’s God's plan for me to be here,” Thomson said at a news conference at the Warriors facility. “I never would have guessed that after being right down the highway, an hour and some change away and playing this team four times a year.
“But that’s going to make it that much sweeter when I play Sacramento this year.”
Thompson was acquired last week in exchange for veteran forward Gerald Wallace, who was sent to the 76ers after only a few days as a Warrior. Thompson had been traded from the Kings to Philly on July 2.
His years in Sacramento were marked with ongoing instability, from ownership change to constant coaching changes to a roster that seemed to undergo weekly transformation.
All the while, the losses kept piling up.
“As a young rookie, when you have to worry about off-the-court stuff, wondering is the team going to stay in that city, that’s never good,” Thompson said. “And then having so many different teammates every year, and not really having veteran leadership over those years, it’s very tough. And then when you have seven different coaches . . . and the list goes on.”
The Warriors consider Thompson, 29, someone who could play power forward and center off the bench. At 6-foot-11, 250 pounds, the Rider College product conceivably could become a key big man on the team’s second unit.
Warriors general manager Bob Myers said one of the things that made Thompson attractive is how he handled himself during those tumultuous years in Sacramento. He gave consistent effort and never showed signs of discouragement.
Thompson credits that to the influence of some of the veterans to whom he has been exposed, particularly Francisco Garcia and Kevin Martin.
“Those are the guys,” Thompson said, “who were saying that regardless of your situation, you always should go hard. You never know who’s watching.’
“I guess this is a perfect example of that.”