February 12, 2013; Oakland, CA, USA; Golden State Warriors shooting guard Klay Thompson (11) dunks the ball during the second quarter against the Houston Rockets at Oracle Arena. The Rockets defeated the Warriors 116-107. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Golden State Warriors: Why Klay Thompson Should Be 6th Man

When a new car arrives in your driveway, you don’t move it to the parking spot that’s hidden or never gets used. You move it to your best parking spot which forces your old car into a spot that usually doesn’t see a lot of action. The old car may be moved into a different parking spot but it still we get some use. It may not be your favorite car anymore but it still has some use.

Well for the Golden State Warriors , Andre Iguodala is the team’s new car. Igoudala will slide into the Warriors starting lineup which will force one of the Warriors young pieces, Harrison Barnes or Klay Thompson, to the bench or the other car spot.

But the decision the Warriors have to make is whether to move Thompson or Harrison Barnes to the other car spot.

Here is why Klay moving to the bench makes sense. I preface this by pointing out that David Lee played a ton of minutes last season with both the first and second unit last season.

Thompson played surprisingly well with the bench last season. In a four man lineup consisting of Jarrett Jack, Carl Landry, and David Lee with Klay of course, the four man group shot a better percentage than a four man group of Harrison Barnes, Andrew Bogut, David Lee and Stephen Curry. The Klay Thompson bench group also had a better plus minus 1.0 then the Barnes starter group of 0.1.

Statistically, the Barnes starter group thrived together as well, scoring more efficiently than the Klay bench group. The Barnes group also averaged more assists 7.8 verses 4.2 and was a far superior rebounding group with more than 13 rebounds.

When Barnes played with Curry in three man lineups he was very successful.  A three man group of Lee, Barnes and Curry shot 46.8 percent from the field, averaged 1.2 turnovers per game, and had a plus minus of 1.2. Compare these stats with a Klay Thompson, Jarrett Jack, and David Lee three man group which was actually statistically better. The latter group had a better plus minus 2.1, averaged less turnovers and shot a better percentage from both the field and three.

These lineups illustrate that Thompson does perform well with the Warriors bench. Even though Jack and Landry are now gone, Thompson will continue to be the offensive focal point of the second unit when on the floor with Tony Douglas and Marresse Speights. Barnes would of course also be a good option to come off the bench, but Thompson could do it as well if not better than Barnes.

Klay also is an incredibly streaky scorer. He goes through stretches where it seems as if all of his shots fall. Some of the other best sixth men in the league go through periods where they are incredibly difficult to stop. Think of the flashy Jamal Crawford or crafty Manu Ginobili.

It should be noted that Klay Thompson does perform incredibly well with Stephen Curry and the rest of the starting lineup. But because the new car, Andre Iguodala has arrived in town, someone may be forced to move to the bench and Klay could very well be that guy.

Tags: Golden State Warriors Harrison Barnes Klay Thompson

  • amazed

    man, I really hope this is a side project for you…. if not, find a new day job. You are an awful writer and it is imperative that you cease imposing your opinions on the world.

    Thank you.

  • Alec Safreno

    I agree that Klay off the bench is better. Because he’s right now a better player than Barnes. At this point in his career, Barnes needs to be surrounded by play makers in order to be effective. He doesn’t play off the ball as well as Klay and he struggles to create his own shot, often relying on bad low post work or midrange jumpers. Barnes will get better over time as the NBA game slows down for him within the next few years, however right now, starting in the same line up as Curry, Igoudala, Lee, and Bogut – all capable passers – would seem to fit better.

    My recollection about Klay is that he seems to play better when Curry’s not in the game or having a bad shooting night. Not statistically, its hard for Curry to not make everyone on the court with him better, but he seems to take over games more confidently. The biggest example I have of this was the game against Cleveland last year when Curry went down with an ankle tweak and Klay took over that game. He exploded for 32 points going 6-8 from behind the arc. He thrives at curling off screens shooting off balance shots that he seems to nail. He doesn’t need much help from Curry, just a simple pass from anyone running the point can get him the pass.

    However, over the past few weeks, the more I think about it, I like the rotations that can arise with having Barnes come off the bench. He’s more versatile than Klay, and can play and guard multiple positions. Plus with Klay starting, he provides floor spacing and spot up shooting can open up the floor for Iguodala, Curry, and Lee to get into the lane.

    • Ben Pickman

      At the end of the day- Barnes will come off the bench. Klay will start. Andrew Bogut will get hurt early in the season. And most importantly Kent Bazemore will keep on dancing.

  • Jeffrey Alejandro

    That’s ridiculous. You start your 5 best players period, which is klay. You only change when you have a match up problem. You start with strength and push on.