Struggle is the correct word to describe Klay Thompson’s performance during this postseason. Shots that usually fall aren’t dropping and shots that he usually takes, he’s passing up which is unlike him. While the presence of Kevin Durant takes a lot of pressure off of Stephen Curry, Draymond Green, and even Thompson, the Golden State Warriors still need Klay to be Klay if they’re going to be NBA Champions come June.
Obviously, that requirement of Klay being himself has not been reflected in the loss record. The Golden State Warriors are currently 10-0 in the postseason becoming the fifth team in NBA history to accomplish this record. However, I do believe that once the competitiveness ramps up (i.e. a possible match-up against the Cleveland Cavaliers) the production from Klay Thompson will be necessary if they wish to be successful.
The numbers for the other half of the ‘Splash Brothers‘ are obviously down. In terms of point production and percentages, they’re not up to par compared to his numbers from last postseason.
What stands out most are his touches. With Kevin Durant jumping on board, it wouldn’t take a genius to assume that his touches would go down. But contrary to belief, his touches actually increased when comparing these two seasons. Last season he averaged 47.4 touches per game during the regular season and this season he averaged 48.4 touches per game. But when looking at the playoffs, that’s when you see the big drop-off. Last year during the playoffs he averaged 49.3 touches per game and during this playoff run, he’s only at 41.3.That’s huge considering the ball movement of the Warriors and how a lot of Klay’s points are within the flow of the offense.
Even his catch-and-shoot numbers have taken a dip. Thompson has been a guy who has ruled this category. During the 2015-2016 playoffs, he averaged 11.0 points off of catch-and-shoot situations. During the regular season, that number jumped up to 11.5 but in these 10 playoff games, he’s down to a low 6.9 points. Those numbers correlate with the dip in Klay Thompson’s touches during this postseason but I also correlate it to him just having a tough stretch as well.
I do believe the Golden State Warriors half-court offense hasn’t been its greatest this postseason. At times, especially in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals they’ve seemed very stagnant and out of sync. We’ve seen a lot of turnovers, balls were thrown out of bounds and guys were not on the same page. Their transition offense has been stellar but when they’ve had to slow the ball down their offense hasn’t been that efficient.
However, while Klay has struggled, I don’t believe that this is something to panic about. With the great shooting ability of Thompson, I’m more than confident that his shot will begin to fall. One thing I would like to see from him is just more poise and relaxation. At times it seems that some of his shots are rushed and forced. As a shooter when you’re not getting the ball as much and you’re shot isn’t falling, you become anxious and you just want to see that ball go through the hoop. Sometimes this anxiety leads to rushed and/or ill-advised shots. I’m expecting a quick turnaround by Klay Thompson but I would love to see the Warriors look to get him more involved and more open looks.