The Golden State Warriors exploded and surpassed expectations last season. The success of making playoffs and advancing to the Western Conference Semifinals was remarkable for this young squad. Many would claim that Stephen Curry’s breakout season and David Lee’s All-Star year were the driving forces to the Warriors’ 42-35 record. However, neither of those players played every single game.
Playing in all 94 games (82 regular season and 12 playoff games), Klay Thompson is arguably one of the main reasons for the success of the Dubs in 2012-13. His proficient scoring ability produced 16.6 points per game on 42.2 percent from the field. In hopes of getting more notoriety from common fans, Thompson is seeking a breakout season of the same magnitude of Curry’s.
Here are three bold predictions for Thompson in the 2013-14 season:
Thompson will average 20 points per game
From his rookie year to his sophomore season, Thompson’s scoring rose 4.1 points per game. While 44.5 percent of his career average comes from three-point shooting, Thompson showed his developing all-around scoring. From being just a spot-up shooter, he has shown flashes of great penetration skills, and he converts 51.3 percent of his shots in the paint.
Defenders who respect his shooting too much will find themselves left behind. Lagging defenders tend to foul players when they get beat to the basket. Shooting 85.1 percent from the free-throw line, getting fouled would be another efficient way for Thompson to get points.
Thompson will make NBA All-Defensive second team
Defense has been the biggest surprise of Thompson’s game thus far. His size mixed with his athleticism makes it hard for smaller shooting guards to get shots off. Also, his 6’9 wingspan can poke loose balls and create turnovers.
Thompson’s biggest problem with his defense is staying out of foul trouble. As a young player, he commits terrible fouls by being overly aggressive. His physical play against smaller defenders forces him into stupid fouls and then to the bench. If he can work on his defensive IQ, Thompson can be an elite defender.
Thompson will be traded
This was very close to happening prior to the start of last season.
Thompson is a valuable talent that the Warriors are willing to part ways with. By now, it is clear to everybody that the Warriors’ depth of bench players is diminishing. Carl Landry is likely to opt out of his contract, and Jarrett Jack is too expensive to bring back.
The reserves for the Warriors played a huge part to their success. Packaging Thompson with a contract of Richard Jefferson or Andris Biedrins would free up cap space for free agency.