Klay Thompson, who scored 38 points in the opener, took just seven shots against the Los Angeles Clippers. Charles Barkley said if he had scored 38, the next game he would’ve taken seven shots in the first five minutes of the game.
Thompson, in hindsight, leans towards Barkley’s reasoning.
“Yeah, that’s inexcusable to take only seven shots,” Thompson said after Saturday’s shootaround. “At least get up 10. I’m out there to be a threat and I’m not that much of a threat if I’m only taken seven shots.”
Through the first quarter Thursday, Thompson hadn’t taken a shot and Golden State was down 36-26. His first attempt didn’t come until the 5:04 mark of the second quarter, hitting a turnaround 10-footer. Thompson must’ve felt like it was time to inject himself into the game, because three of the next four possessions ended with him shooting.
But after this mini-barrage of shots, Thompson went silent again. His next shot didn’t come until 8:57 in the fourth. He finished with 10 points on 3 of 7 shooting.
This has been an issue for Thompson in his two-plus years in the league. As the third option, he can sometimes become a forgotten man. On top of that, the Warriors’ offense seems more inside-out oriented, especially in the early stages of games. Jackson said he’s not going to break from the offense to make sure Thompson gets a certain amount of touches.
“That’s not who we are,” Jackson said after the loss to the Clippers. “We’re not running our offense through Klay. We pick and choose and find the hot hand, and we execute and find our offense.”
Thompson said he thought he played well in the flow of the game. He didn’t take any bad shots. The looks he got against the Lakers just weren’t there against the Clippers.
But that’s the next level of development for Thompson, creating offense. It was a part of his game that looked to be improved during the preseason.
Thompson said he can get more looks by rebounding and pushing the ball, calling for a screen and making a play. He can also move more off the ball, finding creases in the defense and better angles for the passer. The more the Warriors play in transition, the more looks he gets, so picking up the pace favors Thompson.
Certainly, he could also demand the ball. He’s developing that one-foot fade-away into his go-to shot. When he’s got a defender on him and he likes his odds, he could call for it and go to work.
“Just gotta find ways to score when the offense isn’t called for me. That’s what the greats do. I’m still learning. If I get 7 shots and we win, a different story. But if I get seven shots and we lose, that means I wasn’t being aggressive. … I look forward to, in the future, being effective in different ways than shooting.”