Time for Klay Thompson to be Warriors’ Superstar 1A


The Golden State Warriors have certainly had an offseason like none before. Winning your first championship in 40 years will tend to do that.

But as all the surreal feelings start to wear off, the focus has to be on how the Warriors will defend their title against another ultra-competitive Western conference and a healthier Cleveland Cavaliers team. Luckily the Warriors have an abundance of talent on their team, and shooting guard Klay Thompson is primed to be an even bigger force in 2015-16.

Golden State Warriors
Golden State Warriors /

Golden State Warriors

Stephen Curry is undoubtedly the Warriors’ leader and best player, and he will continue to be so for many years to come. But the other half of the Splash Brothers combo flashed top 10 NBA talent throughout the season. Thompson was named to his first All Star team, he was runner up to Curry in the three-point competition, and was named to the All NBA Third team. And let’s not forget that little 37-point outburst in a single quarter against the Sacramento Kings.

The one thing missing in Thompson’s season though, seemed to be consistency. For as hot as Thompson would get in stretches, he would find himself invisible at times.

Whether it was a bad pass or a few rushed shots in a row, negative plays would pile up consecutively for Thompson. These stretches were clear in the final four games of the NBA Finals, where Thompson averaged a mediocre 10 points per game on 37% shooting. In the Warriors’ clinching game six, Thompson never found his groove and fouled out with a meager five points.

Granted, we did see Thompson shadowing LeBron James for a good portion of the series, and that had to take a toll on him, especially over the course of an entire regular season and playoffs where Thompson eagerly accepted the challenge of guarding the opposing team’s best player. This has to be something to be reconsidered by the Warriors’ coaching staff this season. It may be in their best interest to have Thompson spend less energy chasing the best players on defense so that he has more in the tank on offense.

Another area of improvement for Thompson is getting to the free throw line. He seemed to have put an emphasis on initiating contact and getting to the line in the early part of last season. In six out of the first ten games, Thompson shot six or more free throws. He would only achieve this feat seven more times over the last 72 games of the season.

For as beautiful a stroke Thompson has, attacking the rim will provide another means of rhythm for him going forward. When the shot is not falling, he will still be producing points through fouls. As he keeps team’s honest while driving, he can only provide more spacing for his jump shots.

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The last key to Thompson developing into an even bigger star is much less tangible- he must accept that he is Robin to Curry’s Batman on the Warriors. The uniqueness of  the Warriors all season was its selflessness and buy-in from players who had previously taken on larger roles on other teams. As much as it is a luxury to have one of the greatest shooting duos in NBA history, it isn’t far-fetched to say that conflict cannot arise from Curry and Thompson. Thompson has been peppered with numerous questions about Curry’s greatness, and he has spoke of his competitiveness with Curry in their practice shootarounds.

The Warriors this offseason were content bringing back most of last season’s roster and making a few under the radar moves. But the continued improvement of Thompson and his friendly coexistence with his backcourt superstar will far outweigh any signing or trade the Warriors make.

Next: Golden State Warriors Underdogs Heading into 2015-16 Season