How Golden State Warrior Klay Thompson Can Improve

By Kyle Lopez
Klay Thompson
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

One of the better nicknames last season was given to the back court duo of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. They were deemed  “Super Splash Brothers”  for their incredible three-point shooting. The Golden State Warriors were very effective offensively last season due to the large amount of three pointers they generated. Thompson was a big part of this, but still had his fair share of problems.

The second-year shooting guard didn’t really improve much after his rookie season. He averaged four more points a game his sophomore year, but took more shots to get that. The Warriors should be one of the better teams in the Western Conference this upcoming season and it would be huge for them if Thompson could take a jump. Thompson did rank eighth among guards in three-point percentage, but only 43rd in overall field goal percentage.

He has one of the more pure shooting forms in the NBA, but has horrible shot selection. When receives a pass, sets his feet and takes an open look, that shot is probably going in. Yet he continues to take highly-contested shots over and over again. Thompson is such a great shooter that if he can start playing smarter and start taking better shots, his efficiency will rise tremendously.

When Thompson shoots in the restricted area, he shoots nearly 60 percent. Meaning when he gets to the rim, he shoots a strong percentage, but he only shot 22 percent outside the restricted area and inside the paint. His little runners and floaters about two to five feet from the basket are only going in every fifth shot. He either needs to get better at them, or stop taking them all together.

Besides shooting, Thompson has some issues when it comes to making plays. He is not the greatest ball handler. When he attempts to get to the rim with the ball, his head is down, meaning he won’t be able to find teammates if they are open. This is why Thompson only averaged two assists a game last season.

Now when it comes to defense, Thompson is a pretty good wing defender. He uses his length and quickness effectively. The problem is team defense. He was out of position a lot of times and missed a lot of his rotations. It’s hard to really condone him for this, though. It’s only rarely that a player of Thompson’s experience level is attuned to NBA defense. With hard work, he should become a good or possibly great defender, especially if he listens to his new teammate and defensive expert Andre Iguodala.

Going through the early years of an NBA career can have its growing pains. Thompson has a lot of potential and is already a fantastic shooter. If he works on his shot selection, ball handling and team defense, Thompson will make a step in the right direction toward becoming a great player for the Warriors.

Kyle Lopez is a Golden State Warriors writer for Follow him on Twitter @_KL9_, or follow him on Google

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