Golden State Warriors: What does Klay Thompson’s explosion mean?

The story of the Golden State Warriors first game of the season was the offensive explosion of Klay Thompson. This is nothing new as he’s done it before; this could either be another really good game or a sign that he’s turned the corner into one of the better shooting guards in the league. Only time will tell if Klay Thompson has turned into the player that the Warriors expect him to be but this explosion was good to see.

Thompson’s biggest weakness has been his consistency or lack thereof. He only shot 42 percent from the field last year and he’s a career 43 percent shooter. Those numbers aren’t atrocious, but when you consider that Thompson is supposed to be a shooter, those numbers for field goal percentage are too low. Thompson is a career 40 percent three point shooter through his first two years so there’s no problem there.

A big part of the low shooting percentages has been inconsistencies. Thompson could have a few great games in a row and then he’ll have three or four bad games in a row. He can’t seem to be as consistent as the Warriors need him to be.

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Klay Thompson’s final stat line: 38 points, 15-19 FG, 5-7 3’s. His previous regular-season career high was 32 points.

There’s a few reasons for this: number one is that he’s a jump shooter. Being a jump shooter usually means that you will shoot lower percentages because you are on the perimeter much more which is where Thompson is for the most part. Number two; he’s still young. He’s 23 and in his third NBA season so he’s still figuring out the ropes as far as being an NBA player.

Even though Thompson’s shooting percentage is too low there’s still plenty of time to improve. He should focus on being a catch and shoot player ( i.e Ray Allen or Reggie Miller). This will help him in the aspect that he’ll be taking spot up shots that he can make and not taking off balance floaters and fadeaways that he too often takes.

He could also opt to improve his ball handling and finishing around the rim. If he attacks the rim better that will mean he’ll get more free throws. This is a good thing, considering he shoots over 80 percent from the free throw line for his career, but he only averages about two free throws a game. That number should be at least 6; see Kevin Durant, Kobe Bryant, James Harden and Lebron James as examples of good shooters finding ways to get to the free throw line to become even more efficient scorers.

The Warriors will need Thompson to become a consistent scoring threat moving forward. If Thompson becomes a consistent  20-point scorer like he’s capable of,  the Warriors will most likely have three 20 point scorers with David Lee, Steph Curry and Thompson. This will only help the Warriors in the Western Conference which is extremely wide open this year. The Warriors feel like they can win the Western Conference and Thompson will go a long way toward determining that.

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Even with his 38 point explosion Klay Thompson may still come off the bench when Harrison Barnes returns from injury.

Another thing that Thompson’s explosion means is that he might remain in the starting lineup once Harrison Barnes returns from an injury in a few games.

This was the biggest question facing the Warriors all offseason. Who was going to come off the bench as sixth man, Barnes or Thompson? I always thought Thompson was better suited for the role because he’s got much more of a scorer’s mentality than Barnes at this point in their careers. This is the type of performance that could make Warriors head coach Mark Jackson’s decision easier in regards to who comes off the bench.

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Thompson does a lot of things that help the Warriors. He’s improved his defense and is really an underrated defender, he can shoot the ball, rebound and pass a bit, the only thing missing from Thompson his first two seasons was consistency. Maybe this 38 point outburst on 15-19 shooting and 5-7 on three’s is the kind of  building block performance that helps Thompson climb up the ranks to one of the top shooting guards in the NBA.

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