For at least one game, Klay Thompson reminded the basketball world just how lethal he can be. “Killa Klay” exploded for 41 points in just 36 minutes. He shot 60.9% from the field, including 10-of-13 from beyond the arc.
After struggling for most of the season, Thompson proudly proved a point in the Golden State Warriors’ win over the Houston Rockets.
“Man, it feels amazing. That’s it, fellows, it feels amazing. I’m hard on myself. I wanted one of these, so to get one, kind of open up the floodgates, it’s only up from here. I promise you,” said Thompson.
Before the spectacular performance against the Rockets, Klay Thompson was averaging 15.6 points on 15.5 field-goal attempts per game. He has now hiked that average to 17.3 points on 16.0 shots per game.
After receiving flak from Charles Barkley and fans on social media, Thompson remained defiant. He was positive that with the kind of effort he puts into his work, it would only be a matter of time before things click.
Against the Houston Rockets, everything clicked for Klay Thompson. He was back to being the catch-and-shoot god that has terrorized defenses in the past. Before the win against the Rockets, where he was 14-23, he never made half of his shots.
When the four-time champ is back to his old self, the Golden State Warriors offense becomes nearly unstoppable. Steph Curry continues to dazzle both as a scorer and playmaker, making life easier for everyone around him. Thompson was a favorite recipient of Curry’s passes in the game.
The all-time leader in 3-pointers made dished out 15 assists, six of which set Klay Thompson up for baskets.
Klay Thompson’s defense will have to improve for him to have a bigger impact
While Klay Thompson is positive about the “floodgates” opening, he could struggle in the next game. Defenses could pay better attention to him after his explosion against the Rockets.
Regardless of whether he’s making his shots, Thompson needs to improve his defense. According to StatMuse, he has the worst defensive rating on the Warriors roster amongst players who are averaging over 15 minutes per game.
“Killa Klay” used to be one of the best two-way shooting guards in the NBA. However, he’s not the same player at the moment. While he could still improve, it is unlikely that we will see his defense reach the level he has shown in the past.
Teams have targeted him on defense this season, taking advantage of his inability to change direction on a dime. He’s a big reason why the Warrior’s once formidable defense has crumbled this season.
If his defense does not improve and he gets those cold-shooting nights, the call to bench him will grow stronger again. Steve Kerr hasn’t entertained thoughts of benching Thompson during his struggles and will likely not do so in the future.
However, if the Bay Area team wants to defend their title, Thompson will have to defend at a respectable level.