From the start of the 2012-2013 NBA season, it became apparent that the Golden State Warriors were investing heavily in second-year guard Klay Thompson. They moved him to the starting lineup and increased his workload from 24.4 minutes per game last season to 35.4 minutes per game this year. With increasing how much they rely on him, they probably assumed that he was going to be a huge factor in how they performed as a team. That was a correct assumption on their part.
On the year, Thompson is averaging 16.5 points per game on 42 percent shooting from the field and 38.8 percent three-point shooting. That field-goal percentage is probably much lower than the Warriors would have liked for it to be, but for a third option in their offense, Thompson has performed well this season. However, upon digging deeper into his statistics this season, a clear difference in how Thompson plays in wins and losses is absolutely glaring.
In Golden State’s 35 wins this season, Thompson’s averages have been fantastic. He’s averaged 18.2 points per game and shot 45.2 percent from the floor and a fantastic 43.2 percent from long-range. With dead-eye shooting, what Thompson is known for, like that, it’s no wonder that Warriors have been able to win when he plays that well.
Conversely, Thompson has really struggled shooting the ball and scoring in the 27 losses that Warriors have suffered this season. In those games, he’s averaged just 14.2 points per game and has shot the ball with alarmingly low efficiency, just 37.7 percent from the field and 33.1 percent from beyond-the-arc.
The important thing to note about Thompson’s win-loss splits is that he takes almost exactly the same amount of shots per game from the field and from three-point range in wins as he does in losses. It’s not a matter of him taking too many shots in any given game, but is more a matter of inconsistency on his part. When he’s feeling it, the Warriors are likely going to win. When he can’t find the bottom of the net, Golden State is going to have trouble.
As the Warriors are struggling to find consistency as a whole and hopefully secure their position in the NBA Playoffs, they need to get a high-level of consistency from Thompson. If that’s not an option and he’s a guy that has it some nights and doesn’t on others, they have to be able to make adjustments accordingly. If he’s feeling it, keep Thompson as a prominent player in the offense. If he’s not hitting his shots, don’t keep letting him fire away. Golden State is a team with obvious talent and potential, Thompson included in that category. However, they need to find a way to maximize Thompson’s effectiveness if they want to succeed in the long run.