Klay Thompson said his mindset doesn’t change coming off the bench. As my grandmother used to say: “All those who believe that, stand on your head and wiggle your ears.”
Thompson, who came of the bench Saturday for the first time since the Monta Ellis trade, appeared to be in assassin mode.
“I’m trying to get Sixth Man of the Year,” he joked.
Armed with a resolve to penetrate, and a refined ability to finish at the rim, Thompson seemed much more determined to make an impact.
Perhaps that’s what Jackson likes about him coming off the bench. He doesn’t have to worry about Thompson being affected mentally, losing confidence or becoming hesitant. If the preseason opener was an indicator, quite the opposite.
“Klay is going to always do what he does best,” Andre Iguodala said after Monday’s shootaround. “And that’s shoot the ball pretty well. … I told Klay when he’s in the game with me, he’s going to get a lot of looks so he’s gotta be ready to shoot the ball. And he is.”
Thompson said he thinks he is coming off the bench, though he hadn’t gotten word. Coach Mark Jackson said Thompson would start at some point in the preseason.
Thompson had 37 games under his belt as a reserve, all from his rookie year. But after starting 122 straight games, in the regular season as playoffs combined, he said it was an adjustment.
“It’s something you have to get used to,” Thompson said. “You have to stay looser on the bench, but it’s still the same role: go in there, shoot, play defense and try to do everything I can.”
If Iguodala starts at shooting guard, the Warriors lose shooting but gain an extra facilitator, which takes some pressure off Curry. Plus Iguodala raises the athleticism and strength of the starting perimeter.
The Warriors will need offense off the bench since Jarrett Jack and Carl Landry are departed. Thompson gives them someone they can rely on to score, with the added ability to defend. And he might be better prepared to handle the adjustment than Barnes, who has never come off the bench. Ever.
The real question is Thompson’s efficiency. If he’s going to be relied on for points off the bench, he’s gotta be better than a 42 percent shooter. He’s clearly worked on developing his high-percentage offense repertoire.
“I’m trying to work on it, whether it’s getting easier jumpers in the key or finishing in the lane,” Thompson said. “I did get up seven 3s but I’m not trying to rely on that this year.”