Entering his third NBA Season, Klay Thompson found himself in a comfortable situation as a young player. Last year his shooting ability from range landed him the nickname of a “Splash brother” along with the record holder for most 3-pointers in an NBA season, Stephen Curry. After experiencing his first NBA playoffs, his team stayed intact and added a great player in Andre Iguodala.
While his shooting ability began to stand out amongst the elite shots of the NBA, Klay Thompson was handed many of the difficult defensive matchups by coach Mark Jackson. During the playoffs Klay split time defending Tony Parker, Manu Ginobli or Kawhi Leonard of the San Antonio Spurs. This year Thompson continues to embrace difficult defensive assignments and commentators around the league are beginning to notice.
After the Warriors successful season last year, Jesse Taylor of Warriors World sat down for a Q&A with Klay Thompson. Klay revealed his hour-a-day defensive training and claimed his biggest improvement over his rookie season was that “I’m picking up team schemes a lot better than I did as a rookie. I know where to be and how to help out my teammates. Like stepping in there to block out a big guy when one of our bigs rotates over to help the guards.”
In the first game of the season Klay Thompson showed up to play. Putting the scoring responsibility of the team squarely upon his shoulders, Thopmson only played in the first three quarters of the Warriors 125-94 dismantling of the Lakers. In 31 minutes he recorded 38 points on 15-19 shooting, hitting better than 70 percent of the 3-point shots he took, check out the highlights if you missed the game.
Complimenting his offense, Klay has shown defensive ability to guard point guards, shooting guards, and small forwards. His 6-foot-7 frame is tall enough to inhibit bigger players or to block the shots of guards, and he possesses quickness and the footwork to stay in front of point guards. An improvement that Klay will continue to slowly add to his game is his body size; he continues to put time in to gain the upper and lower body strength to compete down on the block.
In the Warriors most recent game, Thompson showed up on both sides of the floor again. While Iguodala knocked down the game winning shot, Klay was arguably the most important player on the team that night: Klay was 6-for-9 from behind thee arc, and managed to score 27 points when defensively assigned to either Kevin Durant or Russell Westbrook.
Klay Thompson has grown into the game in his third year. His basketball IQ shows every night, in that he knows where to be on the floor on both offense and defense. On the offensive side of things, he’s maintained his elite shooting ability while improving his ball handling and work off the ball. On defense, Klay shows determination to hold whoever he’s matched up against under their scoring average (and he’s successful more often than not). Thompson’s solidified a spot for himself on an elite roster by being a competitive advantage on both ends of the court.