The Golden State Warriors came into this season hungry. They won the title last season, but they felt they were disrespected by the talk in the media heading into this season. There was the usage of the word “luck” with them and they took exception to it. Some of the comments were potentially taken out of context by them because, as ESPN NBA analyst says “You have to be lucky to win a title.” But some of the comments were aimed at not giving the credit they felt they deserved. And with a tough Western Conference, they are not the team that everyone is picking to win the title again this year. Beginning the season, it looked like they picked up where they left off. Steph Curry was being a wizard with the basketball and Draymond Green is being his usual self on the court. And even with center Andrew Bogut missing some time with a concussion, backup big man Festus Ezeli has stepped in and held his own. With the rate they are putting up points, some might say they are ripe for another title. The play on both ends despite their head coach missing (Steve Kerr is still recovering from offseason back surgery) has been engulfing each and every opponent. But while the record indicates they are at the top of the league, they still have one issue that has come up to start the year. The issue is not with the team as a whole, but with one player that seems to not have found his rhythm.
Klay Thompson is an extremely talented player. He came into the NBA back in 2011 with the reputation of just being a shooter. And over time, he has developed his game to where he can do a multitude of different things on the court along with defending his position. Some consider him the best shooting guard in the NBA. And last season, he had the best year of his career. He shot career-highs in three-point percentage and shooting percentage overall on his way to averaging a career-high 21.7 points per game. The shooting of Thompson combined with Steph Curry made the Splash Brothers, as they are nicknamed, the best backcourt in the NBA. This season, many wondered what they could do for an encore. Well, Steph has definitely came out on fire to start the year. He has already put up a 50 point game and we aren’t even a month into the season. But if you take a look at Klay Thompson, he seems to be having some issues getting going this year. He is shooting a career-low 36% from the three-point line and is shooting the worst he has in his entire career. And to match that, he is turning the ball over the most he has over his career. His average has dropped 7 points to 14.5 points per game so far.
One thing that could be hindering Thompson’s shot is his shot selection. When watching a few of his games, he is shooting some shots that are highly contested. In the offense that Golden State runs, he does not have to shoot those type of shots at all. Steph Curry could easily create a wide-open shot for him. But instead, he goes out and takes some shots that are seemingly ill-advised or not the best option. Because of that, he misses the shot. Last season, he was hitting those types of shots, but that does not mean those were good shots to take. And this year those shots are biting him. But other than the shot selection, it seems like Thompson is a little off-balance when shooting. Of course some of his shots are fadeaways, but the ones that aren’t have to be concerning. When he goes up to shoot the basketball, it just seems like he has a lean one way or the other. As a result, the trajectory of the basketball is thrown off and his shot is not the perfect, smooth shot it was last season. Both things mentioned are things that can be correctable with focus and repetition. But as of right now, those things are causing some issues.
As far as his turnovers this year, it seems like Thompson is trying a little too much when it comes to being a complete player. He has not been horrible with the ball, but he can try to do too much at times. And as a result, that can get him into trouble. For Thompson to get that in order, he may want to slow down and process the court just a little bit better. Golden State likes to move fast on offense, but it defeats the purpose of doing so if he is turning the ball over. But other than slowing down, he may want to realize that he does not have to be one of the main playmakers on this team. Just looking at the team, the playmakers they have are Steph Curry, Andre Iguodala and Draymond Green. To a lesser extent, you can say that Andrew Bogut is a playmaker with his passing ability. Listing all these playmakers for the Warriors lets you know the Warriors don’t need Thompson to be a playmaker on this team. If he just hones in on the things that he can do, then his game will come along this season.
Thompson has plenty of time to get things straightened out. It is still early in the season and he has a talented cast of players surrounding him that can give him time to get it done. But for the Warriors to repeat like they want to do, he will have to get it together on the court.