No one in the universe can get hot in a hurry like Klay Thompson.
Not even his fellow splash brother Stephen Curry.
When Klay’s hot, he shoots unconsciously, whether he has an inch of space or is fading away from the basket 27 feet out.
This is evidenced by a resume that includes a 37-point quarter, a 60-point outburst in just 29 minutes, and a 41-point, series-saving performance in Game 6 of the 2016 Western Conference Finals.
But even for a Warriors roster that features Curry and Kevin Durant, the third and second best players in the league, respectively, Klay needs to be the go-to guy from the jump.
At 6-foot-7, Klay is strictly a shooter. He slashes to the basket and occasionally gets in the post, but a majority of his looks come in catch-and-shoot situations and he rarely takes guys off the dribble.
Exactly the point.
Curry and Durant can get shots whenever they want because they’re ball handlers. They can dribble by defenders with an array of moves or create enough space to get a shot off.
Klay can’t really do that. He needs to be set up by curling around screens, running on the break or waiting on the wing for a pass to come his way.
In his 60-point game in December 2016, 20 of his 21 made field goals were assisted, and he only dribbled the ball 11 times.
James Harden dribbles that many times every possession.
This season, Klay’s knocking down 49 percent of his shots and 44 percent of his threes – both career-highs. But his 15.8 shots per game are his lowest since the 2013-14 season.
Durant leads the team in shot attempts at 18 and Curry is second at 16.9, which is fine. Again, they’re two of the top-three players in the NBA.
And this is not to say that Klay should be shooting more than them, but rather that he should be getting more looks earlier in games. This simple offensive adjustment will draw defenses toward him, opening the floor for his fellow All-Stars to indulge in scoring.
Remember, Klay’s a simple guy. He just wants to win and plays great defense nightly, so in return, the Warriors need to feed him the ball a little bit more, and they’ll reep the rewards of their actions.
(All stats via ESPN and Basketball-Reference.)