Golden State Warriors shooting guard Klay Thompson is shooting only 37.7% from the field and 36.1% from beyond the arc over his first five games since returning from two devastating injuries. However, he had his best outing against the Detroit Pistons on Jan. 18, and the performance drew a scary message from Warriors head coach Steve Kerr.
Thompson scored 21 points while shooting 6-of-13 from the floor and 3-of-8 from deep versus the Pistons, helping the Warriors win by 16. The All-Star shooting guard was pleased with his play, and Kerr believes this is only the beginning for the three-time champion.
Klay Thompson: “I was just happy to see the ball go through the rim”
Thompson was not only delighted that the Warriors defeated the Pistons to improve to 32-12, but he was also satisfied with how he shot the ball after struggling in his previous four games.
“Made some shots, made some tough shots on the move,” Thompson said, via ESPN. “I was just happy to see the ball go through the rim. I don’t care if I miss 100 shots in a row. I’m never going to stop shooting the ball. I love it too much, and I work too hard not to.”
Thompson is averaging 15.2 points, 3.0 rebounds, and 2.2 assists for the Warriors, who have the second-best record in the Western Conference and will make the playoffs this season after missing it in 2020 and 2021. Everyone knew it would take the five-time All-Star time to get his rhythm and feel for the game back after missing two seasons, but Kerr is already seeing steady improvement through five games.
Steve Kerr on Klay Thompson: “He’s getting his legs underneath him”
Thompson looked like “Killa Klay” against the Pistons, especially on his 3-pointer at the buzzer to end the first half. It was the two-time All-NBA guard’s favorite shot of the night and reminded the rest of the league how dangerous the Warriors are when Thompson and Stephen Curry are rolling.
“He’s getting his legs underneath him, for sure,” Kerr said. “He’s looking better and better, and his wind and conditioning has improved.”
Added Thompson: “A classic corner 3. Just a pump fake, side step, knock it down.”
Kerr has guided the Warriors to three championships since becoming the head coach in 2014. Curry, Thompson, Draymond Green, and Andre Iguodala have been the core players for all three titles, but the team will only go as far as the Splash Brothers can take it this year.
Despite that, Curry is putting no pressure on Thompson to return to form quickly since he knows the Warriors will need the two-way guard in prime condition for the playoffs.
Stephen Curry to Game 6 Klay: I’ve let him know there’s no pressure
Curry recently told Shams Charania of The Athletic his message to Thompson. The two-time MVP doesn’t want his partner in crime to get discouraged if he struggles in the regular season since the playoffs are more important.
“I’ve let him know: There’s no pressure,” Curry said. “We got off to a good start this year so that we could have this buffer, this middle part of the year for him to get his legs back and understand what it feels like for his body to play at this level again. Two and a half years is such a long time between games. He can still shoot the ball, still crazy competitive and understands the long game. It’s only been a few games. For him to understand he’s going to get back to the player he is in due time … he knows April, May and June is what it’s all about. I can’t wait to see it.”
Thompson has career averages of 19.3 points and 2.2 assists in the postseason while shooting 44.2% from the field and 41.5% from beyond the arc. If the Warriors get that type of production from him in the 2022 playoffs, they could easily win their fourth title of the Curry-Thompson-Green-Iguodala-Kerr era.