For the majority of last season and so far this season, Klay Thompson has failed to gain a rhythm in his once highly efficient game. This has been to the detriment of the Golden State Warriors this season, with his poor shooting nights often proving decisive.
Thompson has been nothing short of spectacular from beyond the three-point arc across his career, shooting an incredible 41.5% from deep. Yet this high-caliber shooting hasn’t exactly continued after his two gruesome injuries.
In the 43 regular season games since his long-anticipated return, Thompson is shooting at around league average — 37.1% from three on 9.3 attempts per game. For comparison, his career-high in three-point attempts was previously 8.3 back in the 2016-’17 season. He shot 41.4% from distance that season.
Has Klay Thompson found a way to regain his rhythm from three?
In Thompson’s most recent game against the Sacramento Kings, he started off with a three to give the Warriors an early lead. However, he quickly stopped making his shot attempts despite a valiant effort to keep shooting.
His poor shooting first half (three-of-nine from the field) helped the Kings take a slim lead at halftime — even after Golden State had led by 15 points in the first quarter. During this stretch, Thompson also struggled defensively as the smaller, quicker Kings guards took advantage.
In the second half, however, he switched his shot quality — He stopped taking more off-balance shots and forcing isolation plays, instead focusing on catch-and-shoot threes off dimes from teammates.
This change caused Thompson to string together multiple made shots in a row. Seeing shots go in from the former star caused excitement across the entire court. The ball hopped around better, the confidence levels of every player rose, and the defense became formidable.
Once he saw a few shots go in, Thompson started playing better defense. For stretches in that second half, he looked like he did five years ago. He would finish the game with 17 points, seven rebounds and three assists to go with a block and a steal. He would score nine points in the second half on an improved three-of-seven from the field. This second half could put to rest recent speculation surrounding his status as a star player, even if the Warriors ended up losing in close fashion.
This could be a major game for Thompson as he sees how he can still contribute to this Warriors team in a positive way, with the hope that it changes the Warriors fortunes going forward. If he’s able to fix his form from beyond the arc, the Warriors have a legitimate shot at winning another championship to solidify their dynasty as one of the all-time greats.