The Golden State Warriors have struggled at times in this young season, with much of it stemming from former All-NBA team member Klay Thompson.
In reference to the idea of Thompson moving to the bench, head coach Steve Kerr told ‘The Damon and Ratto Show’, “no, that’s not something I’ve given any thought to”.
He went on to elaborate that the starting lineup for his team is the best five-man lineup in the league, adding that Jordan Poole plays a very different style of play and that it “doesn’t make a lot of sense to me to break up that unit.”
Klay Thompson seems to be at the heart of many of the Golden State Warriors’ issues. Should Steve Kerr and the coaching staff actually consider playing him in a bench role?
Thompson has shot poorly this season, hitting less than 40% of his shots and only 32.6% from three-point range. The 32-year-old is hitting career-lows or near enough to in almost every spot on the floor. Despite these career-lows, Thompson is still hitting a career high on deep two-pointers. Although, the analytics fans can take a sigh of relief because he’s also attempting a low amount from that range.
Thompson has seemingly abandoned his old style of playing, seeing a spike of isolation plays and mid-range jumpers since his return last season. This is a drastic change from before when he was almost exclusively a catch-and-shoot player.
This change in playstyle has also led to a dramatic drop in efficiency as well. It hasn’t been pretty and has often caused the Warriors offense to become stagnant and slower than it should be. He’s also become a negative for the Warriors defensively, holding a -0.2 in defensive win shares and often getting beaten off the dribble by smaller, quicker guards.
This propensity has led to him either fouling regularly, or causing the likes of Kevon Looney or Draymond Green to help at the rim which leads to their own personal fouls. It’s also led to some open layups or pull up mid-range jumpers for opposing guards.
Thompson has been targeted in every game by these players. In their second game against the Sacramento Kings, he was scored on or was forced to foul on a number of possessions during the closing minutes of the tight game. He was also targeted by the Orlando Magic and the Cleveland Cavaliers to varying levels of success — to his credit, he did have a key stop against Donovan Mitchell to propel the Warriors to a major win on Friday night.
These extra fouls have left the Warriors in foul trouble early in both the game and in quarters, leaving extra responsibility to more inexperienced players which hasn’t helped the Warriors’ bench issues.
James Wiseman has been the largest recipient of the bench issues that have stemmed from these extra fouls. He is a young player who will make mistakes and will learn from them, but his mounting fouls allow teams to take advantage of the bonus situation.
If Thompson’s poor play doesn’t improve soon, the groans of fans will grow and the Warriors struggles may continue. If this does happen, then it may become time for Kerr to reconsider his stance on the former All-Star.