It’s simple to fit Klay Thompson into a box and call him a shot. Yes, he is one of the best at what he does. Following two-and-a-half seasons of missing play because of a torn ACL and Achilles tendon, he had a great comeback year and made 301 3-pointers, his best percentage since 2017-18. Many people might think of Thompson as a one-trick pony, even if it is an aesthetically stunning trick, especially now that he may have lost a step on defense.
But Thompson must be more than a scorer for the Golden State Warriors to do well this season.
In May of last year, during the playoffs, Warriors coach Steve Kerr talked to his senior shooting guard about how NBA players can change with grace as they get older. At age 33, Thompson heard Kerr talk about how he could change the game in ways other than his perfect jump shot. Bounceback was the main answer at the time, and Kerr has kept preaching it during the 2023–24 training camp.
Before the team’s 125–108 warmup win over the Los Angeles Lakers, Kerr said, “What we’re driving home with Klay is the bench.” “He could do better on the glass, and it doesn’t have to show up in total rebounds.” More so, getting into the fight, striking out, and hitting people. Because we all know that this year, we need to improve in the little things.
Thompson’s rebounding average went from 2.4 per game as a rookie to 4.1 per game last season, the highest of his career. Anders Kerr said it’s not about the numbers, but he grabbed four rebounds in 12 minutes in the warmup win. He wants to put himself out there, make things happen, and show that he’s not allergic to the paint.
Watch as Thompson fights for two rebounds and gets one of each. You can see him run in from his spot in the corner to tip the ball out of bounds in the second one.
Even though it doesn’t look like much, this continued work will at least help stop opponents’ transition buckets. Last year, Golden State gave up the 18th most fast break points in the NBA. On the bright side, it could lead to offensive rebounds, which the Warriors love when Steph Curry is ready at the 3-point line for a kickout. Finishing plays with a rebound will cut down on second-chance points, which is important for the Warriors because they will be small often.
Thompson has learned from his broken glass so far. He’s in great shape after playing pick-up games during the offseason. He didn’t do this last summer because he had trouble thinking straight after tearing his Achilles. Thompson is a historically great shot, so it makes sense that he finds it hard to focus on other parts of the game.
Thompson said, “I love scoring the ball and shooting so much.” “Sometimes it’s equally as fun getting a stop, getting a good rebound, making an assist — the simple plays.”
Thompson is known for being very competitive, which will help him with the little intricate things. There’s a man who wants to win basketball games, and he’ll do whatever it takes to get them. He’ll rebound, dive on the floor, and guard centers.
“It was just his confidence, man.” “I think it’s contagious,” said Darvin Ham, who planned games against Thompson as an assistant coach before becoming head coach of the Lakers. “He has this vibe that makes you believe he’ll get it done, even when he’s having trouble.” “That guy is a killer,”
Watching Thompson check out Anthony Davis, who is probably the best defender in the NBA, shows he’s not scared of anyone.
The newest Warrior, Chris Paul, used the word “killer” that Ham used to describe Thompson. He agreed with what Ham said about Thompson’s will and drive. When the Warriors play with only him, Paul, and Curry, the 6-7 guard must show all that determination to protect more prominent, stronger players.
“Klay is probably a lot taller and stronger than people realize,” he said. “So when somebody hears him guarding a four, that ain’t — that’s fine.”
As it turns out, Thompson showed some excellent post-defense when the Warriors lost to the Lakers in six games in the Western Conference playoffs last year, and he’s kept that up this season. In this case, he went up against Rui Hachimura, who is 6 feet 8 inches tall and 230 pounds, in the post and more than held his own physically before swiping down to get the strip.
Fans may think otherwise, but people in the league know Thompson for much more than his ability to score points. Paul talked about how Thompson always kept an eye on him during challenging playoff games when he played for the Clippers or the Rockets. Rudy Gay, who has been in the NBA for 17 years and is now fighting for a spot on the Warriors’ roster, pointed out that Thompson’s offensive game is broader than people might think.
“He’s good at cutting and in the post.” You can only get all those points by cutting or passing. “Not all of those were 3s,” Gay told NBA Online Betting PH. He’s been a spot-up shot at times, but he’s the player who gives you what you need. That is what he does in that case. He’s a better player than people outside of this area think.
The bottom line, Kerr said before the Lakers preseason game, is that it’s not 2017 anymore, and the Warriors can’t, in his words, “out-talent” the other team. You might think of the Warriors as a flashy and skilled team, but they’ll have to win by beating the other team on the boards, getting 50/50 balls, and limiting mistakes and fouls.
If they do well in those areas, it will be because Thompson is on board. Even though he is very good at the field, it has nothing to do with how well he shoots.
“When I was hooping this summer, I just tried to focus on doing the things that allow the team to win — whether that’s hitting the open man, taking the open shot, playing defense, and not being so pressed to have to score for my team to win,” said Thompson. “I just want to be a complete, smart player.” I did well, and I hope it shows this season.