After back-to-back games where he was ejected then finished with five points on 1-10 shooting, Klay Thompson looked to have found some rhythm in the first-half of the Golden State Warriors' meeting with the Oklahoma City Thunder on Saturday night.
The veteran shooting-guard drilled a trio of three-pointers in the first 24 minutes, notching 12 points on just five shots. It was briefly a sight for sore eyes, only for Thompson to struggle in the fourth-quarter and overtime of the 130-123 loss.
Klay Thompson's inability to hunt wide open shots is characterizing his struggles to open the season for the Golden State Warriors.
The 33-year-old went 0-6 combined from the field in the fourth and OT, with the Warriors unable to snap what's now a six-game losing streak. One play during OT in particular, where Thompson badly missed two tough three-point jumpshots, certainly left fans frustrated.
But that wasn't an isolated moment, rather it's a reflection of Thompson's struggles this season where he's currently averaging 14 points on 40% shooting from the floor and 33% from three-point range.
So is it a case of just a bad shooting stretch for the future hall of famer? Golden State fans would hope so, but it may not be as simplistic as that. Thompson's shot attempts have often appeared incredibly difficult so far this season, and the statistics reflect that.
When Thompson returned after his two devastating leg injuries in 2021-22, 18.7% of his shots were considered wide-open (the closest defender at least six feet away). Last season that number dropped to 17.3%, a slight decrease but not enough to prevent the five-time All-Star from still finishing the season shooting 41.2% from three.
That frequency has dropped to 13.3% so far this season. Thompson is still shooting 50% on these wide-open three-point attempts -- he's making them, he's just not getting enough of them in comparison to previous seasons.
6% of his shots are currently regarded as tightly contested (the closest defender within two feet). That's up from 3% in 2021-22 and 3.3% last season. In order words, Thompson is taking more tightly contested shots and less wide-open attempts.
Is this a decision-making thing? Is his ability to actually get open hampered by his athleticism at this point of his career? Are the coaching staff and teammates putting him in a strong enough position to succeed? These are all fair questions and ultimately the answer is probably a multitude of factors.
This isn't the first time Thompson's shot-selection has come under scrutiny and it likely won't be the last. But regardless, he and the Warriors need to address it quickly before their season transitions into a state of no repair.