Klay Thompson: It's a Marathon not a Race
The course of the 2022-23 season has been an uphill battle for the Golden State Warriors. As the team is looking to defend its championship, there isn’t much optimism that the team has a high chance of repeating. Currently, there is no Stephen Curry or Andrew Wiggins, as both players are sidelined with injuries. With that being said, other key players are forced to step up to keep the team's momentum going.
Everyone knows Klay Thompson as the half-member of the Splash Brothers. Through the course of his career, Thompson has been an elite two-way talent with his ability to light up the floor on offense while being a great perimeter defender on the other end. However, many insiders haven’t been impressed with Thompson’s play through the course of this season. As he is still trying to find his rhythm, it has been a difficult task for Thompson to find consistency on the court.
People have to give Thompson the benefit of the doubt. Before making his season debut last January, it was 800+ days since he last saw the basketball court. Fans and insiders should have known that it would take Thompson significant time before he showed signs of being his old self. Despite the Warriors winning the NBA championship this past season, Thompson was still not at his best. He averaged only 17 points per game on 35 percent shooting during the six-game series. Luckily, with the Warriors winning the title, the situation overshadowed Thompson’s struggles at the moment.
The struggles would carry over to the beginning of this season. Through a good stretch of this season, Thompson was not able to buy a basket. Not only was his offense a struggle in his game, but his defense wasn’t great either. Through the course of his career, everyone knows Thompson as being an elite perimeter defender. He’s had success defending some of the best scorers in the NBA. However, Thompson’s lateral quickness has been exposed as he can’t stick with defenders the way he could during his earlier days. By having an observation, it’s safe to say that injury history and age have played a role in why he got off to a slow start.
However, Klay Thompson has a competitive edge about him that won’t allow him to be a shell of himself. He may not be the Klay Thompson of old but can still figure out ways to impact the game. In a road game against the Houston Rockets, he found his groove again with a 41-point explosion. Once Thompson watches the ball go through the hoop, it boosts his confidence. It’s the reason he gave us 60 points on 11 dribbles while also breaking the record for most threes in a contest. Thompson is dangerous when he’s making shots and it can break down an entire team’s defensive scheme.
In the Warriors’ current home stretch, Thompson has found his rhythm once again. With Stephen Curry out due to a shoulder injury, he’s put the team on his back and has continued to deliver offensively. Over his last five games, Thompson is averaging 33.6 points per game on 46 percent shooting. Of course, one of the contests that stand out is his 54-point performance in the Warriors’ double-overtime win over the Atlanta Hawks.
Fans will look at the number of buckets Thompson made in his 54-point game. However, he impacted the game from other perspectives. His off-ball movement causes the defense to shift and stay close to his body. Also, Thompson’s ability to get others involved was astounding in the contest. While Thompson was the player to lead the way, his leadership on the floor was what helped the Warriors prevail in a close win.
As the season continues to progress, Klay Thompson continues to show signs of improvement. No, he will more likely never be one of the top shooting guards in the NBA. However, he can continue to be a productive veteran in the Warriors’ rotation. As Curry continues to rehab from an injury, Thompson must continue to use this time as an advantage to find his rhythm with more opportunities on offense.