In his second year with the Golden State Warriors, Klay Thompson would seem to be a player on the verge of breaking through to super stardom. He’s blessed with an elite player’s physical talents: a sweet shooting touch, a strong core and a NBA pedigree.
The sky should be the limit for Thompson and his future should be filled with All-Star game appearances with his back court running mate, Stephen Curry, creating nightmares for their Western Conference opponents as they become the best guard tandem in the Association.
However, despite these attributes, some around the Warriors organization are voicing concern about Thompson and whether he will ever develop into the steady, dominant player he was envisioned to be when they drafted him.
Too often this season, Thompson has settled for contested wing threes instead of driving to the basket or passing off to a cutting teammate. Too often, Thompson has taken quick, out-of-offense jump shots, regardless of time, score and the rebounding position of the Warriors’ post players.
Worse still, when asked about these tendencies by media or even when encouraged by Mark Jackson and the other members of the coaching to tone it down a little, the answer from Thompson has been some variation of “That’s just my game.”
Such cluelessness (or carelessness) is disturbing in a player of Thompson’s quality. Though he’s shot his way out of a early season slump and has had some excellent games this season, some more court awareness on his part is desperately needed. His tendency to take bad shots at bad times is beginning to take a toll on the Warriors ability to space the floor and rebound.
Worse still, his defensive effort has been noticeably lacking during the Warriors’ five game losing streak, with his direct match-up often torching the team for huge point totals. (James Harden must be inhabiting his nightmares by now) One of the issues in the Warriors’ second half will be whether or not Thompson is getting the message.
The hope is that the All-Star break has allowed him to refocus. There’s no doubting his talent level and competitive fire. To his credit, Thompson’s displayed none of the off-the-court issues that marred his draft positioning last year. And the Warriors certainly hope that this behavior on the court is just the growing pains of a young, brash NBA star in the making.
Thompson certainly has the make up to succeed. Here’s hoping he has the rest of the goods to make that potential into reality.