Klay Thompson got off to a sparkling start this season, looking like a potential All-Star at shooting guard. For the first month of the season, he was averaging over 20 points per game, shooting 46 percent from the field and playing outstanding defense on opposing point guards. Warriors fans were looking at Curry and Thompson as the best backcourt in the NBA and dreaming of a possible championship with the “Splash Brothers” leading the charge.
While Curry continued to improve, eventually becoming the first Warrior to start an All-Star game since Latrell Sprewell, Thompson struggled with his jump shot and never seemed to have a good game when Curry did. Fans were asking to the team to trade Thompson because while he was a great defender and could hit the three, the rabid fanbase was expecting Thompson to make that jump to stardom. Instead Thompson did not make the adjustment to opposing defenses and continued to just shoot contested threes, instead of slashing to the hoop and drawing fouls.
Thompson, an iron man, looked fatigued with the All-Star break approaching and was probably the one Warrior that benefited from the break. After the break, Thompson looked revitalized with his mission beginning on the road. His first stop was in Detroit where he showed Dub Nation something they had never seen before; Thompson actually dunked on someone and that someone was Kyle Singler. His success continued in New York in a blowout victory but his signature moment may have come in Indiana.
Thompson went off in the fourth quarter against the Pacers, scoring 16 of his 25 points, hitting a multitude of threes, jumpers and layups, and finishing with a game-winning 12 foot baseline jumper over George Hill to give Golden State its biggest win of the season, 98-96. It was Thompson’s first game winner of his career and he has simply been a different player since then.
He, along with Curry, saved the Warriors once again on Sunday night, beating the Blazers by coming back from a 18 point deficit, winning 113-112. Curry had more points than Thompson, doing most of his damage in the third quarter, ending up with 37 points. But it was Klay Thompson that won this game, playing excellent defense on All-Star Damian Lillard and hitting two clutch threes to give Golden State the victory.
With the Warriors down one, all the Blazers’ attention was on Curry, which opened the door for Thompson to play hero. Curry drove down the lane, kicked out to Harrison Barnes, who made the extra pass to Thompson for the game-winning wing three. After the shot went in, Thompson showed more emotion than he has in his brief three-year career and a glimpse for all fans that he had the potential of becoming an all-star.
In the month of March, he is averaging almost 19 points per game, shooting over 50 percent from the field and three-point range. He has shown the ability to drive the lane, making plays for others or for himself. He is now playing with a certain swagger, not afraid to take the big shot while playing outstanding defense, garnering consideration for the All-Defensive team.
Golden State is frightening when the “Splash Brothers” are shooting on all cylinders, something that has not happened much this season till now. If Thompson had been consistent all season, we may be looking at the Warriors fighting the Clippers for the Pacific division crown. Instead the Warriors are in the sixth spot in the West, fighting to move up in the standings. Even if the Warriors cannot move up in the standings, Golden State should feel comfortable in the postseason because of their defense, Curry and the emergence of Klay Thompson.