Balls: NBA has credibility at stake on Thompson call 

As early as today, the Warriors expect to learn whether Klay Thompson will be available in Game 1 of the NBA Finals.

Until then, this much is clear: The NBA better get it right for Thompson's sake and the sake of its own credibility.

See, the NBA is a bit new to this concussion controversy. An average of only 13 were diagnosed league-wide in the last four seasons — the NFL had about 11 times that number — and none was on a stage as large as this one.

"I'm extremely confident," Thompson said of his chances on Monday, when he returned to practice. "I'd be very shocked if I didn't [pass], so I'm really confident I will . . . I can't give you any promises, but I'm as confident as you can be.‎"

Why, of course. Almost from the moment that Thompson was kicked in the head six days ago, practically everyone from his agent to team management cleared him to play against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Thursday night. Yet so much is at stake here — namely, money, money and more money — no player or organization can be expected to tell the whole truth about something this complex and important.

Thankfully, the decision will be left to the Warriors' medical team and a person most of us have never heard of — Dr. Jeffrey Kutcher, who oversees the NBA concussion policy. Before he returns, Thompson will be required to complete several steps without any hint of symptoms. Team physicians will make the final determination, but not before Kutcher hears the evidence.

A lot of people in the sports world are anxious to see how the league handles its biggest test yet.

NOT SO FAST: According to InStreetClothes.com, which explores injuries in professional sports, the average time lost because of concussions has been 8.9 days this season. Which means that, even if Thompson's injury is nothing out of the ordinary, he may not return until Game 2 on Saturday night.

SAY IT AIN'T SO: The Athletics' Josh Reddick tweeted that it "hurts" to see Stephen Curry at a Giants game the other night, but after he reads this, he may want to gag himself ...

"I'm actually a [Boston] Red Sox fan," Curry revealed one of his few flaws. "Growing up in Charlotte, there's no baseball team, so I'm basically a free agent, me and my brother. I chose the Red Sox when I was like 9 or 10. He chose the [New York] Yankees. We had our own little rivalry going on, so that's my team.

"But I obviously support both Bay Area teams. That's probably not the most popular stance, but I like to see teams play well and do well. I've worn both hats, so I'm all right with that."

ZIP THE AKRON TALK: Some media have tried to hype the series as a dual between two Akron guys, but that's silly talk. Other than the fact that he and LeBron James were born in the same hospital, Curry has as much Akron in him as the man on the moon.

"I was there for about six months after I was born, so it's not like I remember anything about it," Curry said.

NO LOVE LOST: The Warriors were dang lucky that head consultant Jerry West convinced their basketball people not to include Thompson in a trade for Kevin Love last summer.

Now Love intends to remain with the Cavaliers next season, but the question is, why do the Cavaliers want him?

Love has a $16.7-million option in his contract, which he will exercise after the season. That's a lot of money to pay a third option behind James and Kyrie Irving in the offense. He also had his left arm ripped out of its socket last month, an injury that was aggravated in a recent victory celebration, Balls kids you not.

Love has one year left on his contract, which makes him easier to move as either a short-term rental or a long-term cornerstone. And if the Cavaliers become the NBA champs in the next few days, it will be easier yet.

JUST ASKIN': Why do two sports host seven-game, winner-take-all series, but one calls theirs the Stanley Cup Final and the other calls theirs the NBA Finals?

Commissioners Gary Bettman and Adam Silver should square off in a spelling bee to settle this once and for all.

YOUR TURN: "The NBA Finals should be a great matchup. The Warriors have enough guys to throw at LeBron. Warriors in six." — Gary Anderson, Columbus, O.

(Crystal Balls sees a seven-game series, and the winner is...)

Got an opinion? A gripe? A compliment? (A compliment?!?) Send them to pladewski@sfexaminer.com and you may get your name in the paper one day.

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