For the first time since the 89-90 season, the Golden State Warriors are 0-8 on the road after another underwhelming performance against the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday night.
Stephen Curry scored 50 points in the 119-130 loss in Phoenix, but his surrounding cast only contributed 62 points collectively. Klay Thompson and Jordan Poole both had rough nights offensively. Thompson ended the night 6 for 17, while Jordan Poole ended his 0 for 5 from the field.
Klay Thompson has struggled to find a rhythm through the opening portion of the season. In his pre-game interview, head coach Steve Kerr clarified that he believes Klay’s struggles are mental, not physical.
“In some ways right now Klay has to get out of his own way and free himself up and just play, enjoy the game instead of wrapping himself up in every single shot. … He needs to just relax and play”
In 12 games played this season, Thompson is averaging 15.1 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 2.4 assists per game while converting 35% from the field, and 33% from beyond the arc. His shot selection has faced a lot of criticism this season. Over 60% of Thompson’s shot attempts have come from the 3PT range and, in many cases, have been heavily contested.
Thompson’s irrational confidence has played a vital role in his success. He is overthinking, overcompensating, and overcorrecting instead of letting the game come to him. His ability to move on to the next possession made him such a lethal threat on the offensive end in years past.
In his postgame interview, Steve Kerr said he believes he can help Klay overcome his early season slump.
Thompson missed the 2019-20 and 2020-21 NBA seasons after suffering a torn ACL during the 2019 NBA Finals and rupturing his Achilles tendon during a private offseason workout leading up to the 2020-21 season. After a 941-day hiatus, Thompson returned to the court and helped the Warriors win their fourth championship in 8 seasons. He averaged 20.4 points, 2.8 assists, and 3.9 rebounds per game.
Unlike previous seasons, Klay has something to prove to himself this year. The narrative around the league is that he isn’t the same two-way player he once was. It was reported that he was “visibly irritated” when TNT analyst Charles Barkley questioned Thompson’s ability to turn back the clock. Since then, Thompson hasn’t been himself. He is forcing shots, overlooking open teammates, and barking back at the noise of the media.
This season, Thompson is obviously in a different headspace in light of recent criticism. For the first time in his NBA career, he feels doubted by his peers and is willing to do anything to prove them wrong, even if it’s to the team’s detriment.
With that said, this isn’t the first time Thompson has struggled during the early portion of the season, and there is no reason he cannot play through this slump with the help of Steve Kerr.