Klay Thompson’s Sub-Par Performance Is Getting Worrisome

Klay Thompson high-fiving his teammate
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As of December 2, 2023, when the Dubs lost against the LA Clippers by a single point after they led by as much as 22, the Golden State Warriors have already played their 20th game of the season.

Klay Thompson still doesn’t look like his pre-injury self. I’m already starting to worry. Here’s why:

Klay Thompson is currently averaging 15.7 points with terrible efficiency.

“How terrible?” you ask.

Well, first of all, this is Klay’s lowest PPG since his first year in the league when he averaged 12.5 points. But, even as a rookie, he shot 41.4% from 3–which is great by anyone’s standard.

Now? He’s shooting 36.1% from beyond the arc and 40.6% from the field. Both are career lows. His turnovers (2.0) and his steals per game (0.4) are also his worst for his entire career.

It looks even worse when you look at his advanced stats.

  • His net rating is -2.6. He’s allowing more points than he’s making. It’s his worst since his rookie year.
  • His turnover ratio is 10.8%. That’s his worst. Ever.

To be fair, Klay is also known for his slow starts.

For your reference, here are his 3-point percentages for October-December in the 5 regular seasons before his ACL injury (via Basketball Reference):

OctoberNovemberDecember
2018-201931.2%36.6%33.7%
2017-201843.5%47.6%43.4%
2016-201714.3%40.5%42%
2015-201625%43.3%45.5%
2014-201525%46.4%40.4%

His slow starts are the sliver of hope I’m still holding on to. You see, the second splash brother has somewhat of a pattern.

He struggles mightily when the season starts in October, picks it up by November, and then gets back to his usual sniping ways by December.

As a fan of the player, I’m still hopeful. As a fan of the team, I’m biting my nails.

Klay plays the game without relying on his athleticism. He never has. He’s a master of off-ball trickery, savvy defense, and 3-point shooting. At the very least, his offensive game should translate well into the twilight of his career, but so far it isn’t looking too good.

That’s a problem the Warriors need to address—and fast.

A quarter of the regular season has already gone by. Stephen Curry is balling his brains out, but let’s not forget that he’s already 35. Draymond Green and Chris Paul have gone past their peak. Andrew Wiggins is looking more like his Minnesota self. Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody have yet to fully break out.

If they still plan on extending their championship window, Klay needs to step up now.

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