Klay Thompson’s season has not gone as expected. Most of the disappointment stems from his mysterious troubles from long-range, where he’s shot the worst rate of his career. This has led to inefficient efforts from the midrange and poor shot selection.
His three-point shooting percentage of 36.6% is by far the lowest of his career, and it was lower than that for most of the season. As a result, he’s shot more midrange jumpers than ever before, and although he’s hitting them at an okay rate, they’re nowhere near as efficient as the high-volume three-point sharpshooting that’s usual from him.
But Thompson may be out of his shooting slump now. Over the past eight games, Thompson has been red-hot from the field, averaging 26.0 points on 52-47-78 shooting splits. His resurgence is the most crucial reason why the Warriors are +100 in point differential over that span.
Everybody knew Thompson would get over his shooting slump. The big question is whether Thompson can rediscover his role on the Warriors. One of the greatest 3-and-D players ever, Thompson is known for his great defensive technique and ability to score without needing the ball in his hands. With the ball-dominant Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant (and not to mention DeMarcus Cousins, who will be returning to action soon), Thompson fits perfectly because he’s an unforgettable offensive threat at all times.
It looks like he’s returning to that old role. In his 43-point outburst against the Knicks, Thompson only dribbled four times. He’s shooting more threes, eliminating contested mid-range jumpers from his game, and making those bench units where he’s the primary scorer viable again.
He’ll need to able to find a consistent groove and avoid off-shooting nights like the one against the Mavericks on Sunday. On the bright side, his shot selection was smart, the threes were just not falling.
If he can finish this season shooting at rates around his career average, the Warriors’ offense should be much better. It’ll have better spacing and take some scoring load off of Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant. Lucky for us, watching Thompson find shooter’s nirvana is one of the wildest phenomena in NBA basketball.