Golden State Warriors' veteran Klay Thompson finally broke his drought on Monday night, scoring 20 points for the first time this season in his team's 121-116 over the Houston Rockets at Chase Center.
Thompson's form has been under heavy scrutiny, particularly across recent games as the Warriors sunk to a six-game losing streak. Before Monday's game against the Rockets, the sharpshooter's last three games had included an ejection, a five-point, 1-10 shooting outing, and some questionable late shot selection in the overtime loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Golden State Warriors' head coach Steve Kerr has urged Klay Thompson to remain patient in the aftermath of his season-high 20 points against the Houston Rockets.
The 33-year-old appeared determined to shoot himself out of the slump early against the Rockets, producing what could only be described as a wild and turbulent first-quarter from an individual standpoint.
Thompson made three of four three-point attempts in the first four minutes, all of which were open looks. The confidence seemed to escalate, perhaps unadvisedly as he posted up in the mid-range on two occasions only to miss.
After seven minutes the Warrior shooting-guard had 12 points, having also converted an and-1 on a pull-up mid-range jumper. He'd also taken nine shots, raising many eyebrows given Stephen Curry had taken just one across that period.
Thompson finished with 20 points on 7-16 shooting and 5-11 from three-point range, helping the Warriors to a much-needed victory. It was a much better outing, yet still one with elements of questionable shot selection.
The five-time All-Star held things in perspective in the postgame, noting that "I've scored more in a quarter than I did tonight." The push and pull of trying to re-establish confidence while remaining patient is a challenging task to navigate, one made all the more important by Golden State's precarious 7-8 record.
Thompson's always wanted to hunt shots, rightfully so given he's one of the best shooters in league history. But head coach Steve Kerr has now gone public on exactly what he wants to see from the four-time champion.
""Klay has to get off the ball when he’s not open rather than try to beat his guy one-on-one and take a difficult fadeaway. That’s what we’re trying to focus on.""- Kerr via The Athletic's Anthony Slater
Kerr's words simply reflect the numbers. Thompson is shooting 38.2% on catch-and-shoot threes this season, is just 27.3% on pull-up threes, and only 31.4% on pull-up jumpshots overall. He's 52.6% on wide-open threes, showcasing that he's still an incredibly dangerous three-point threat.
The Warriors can still unearth a way to get Thompson 10-12 good looks per game, and he can still be an 18-20 point per game scorer as a result. It's now about him being able to accept that role, particularly given that's unlikely to yield a $30+ million contract or any sort of individual awards.