The “first game back” jitters were all over Klay Thompson’s triumphant return to the Golden State Warriors in January. He had the ultimate green light to shoot the ball and Klay took advantage of every opportunity.
Two months later, Klay is still playing just as jittery as he did in his season debut — and his shot selection has hardly changed.
Klay Thompson is forcing it and everyone can see. It’s time for the Golden State Warriors star to calm his nerves and get back to playing naturally.
It’s understandable why Thompson has been firing away at will. He missed over two years of basketball and is itching to hit his stride before the playoffs begin. However, sometimes more is less.
In this case, Thompson desperately needs to calm down.
Calling back to a similar story I did earlier in March, Klay is still relying on pull-up jumpers for over 40% of his total attempts. Compare this to 2018-19 when pull-ups accounted for just 32% of his shot selection.
Other areas have improved, such as Thompson now attempting only 63% of his field goals within the first two seconds of catching the ball as opposed to the over 70% volume he was at prior to March.
Still, only 60.8% of Thompson’s attempts came within two seconds of touching the ball in his last healthy season.
The truth is, Klay is forcing it. Steve Kerr recently commented on this after Thompson’s 5-of-21 performance versus Phoenix.
The cruel irony of it all is Golden State needs Thompson to shoot. They have no other way to supplement Stephen Curry’s scoring without Thompson heating up down the stretch of the season — but it has to come naturally.
This might feel like cheap advice but it is time for Thompson to breathe, relax and allow the game to come to him. This means passing up good shots for great shots — and placing an emphasis on building a rhythm before attempting the highly-difficult shots he previously was known for.