NBA

Klay Thompson responds to Warriors team meeting with patience and efficiency

Klay Thompson responds to Warriors team meeting with patience and efficiency

SAN FRANCISCO – The warriors held a candid team meeting after Friday morning’s shoot. Draymond Greenhow Klay Thompson he tells her, he “kept his word” for an important part. JaMychal Green he said the team “addressed the elephants in the room.”

elephants – plural – because warriors have problems – plural. In the 6-9 start, they had a half-hearted team-wide defensive effort and had some role-switching complaints downplayed. But the biggest elephant in the room after Wednesday’s lifeless loss to Phoenix was Thompson seven shots selection, hijacking the offense in an attempt to break out of a deep shooting slump. His companions were visibly frustrated.

“I watched a lot of film,” Thompson said. “And, uhh, you know, sometimes…yeah. I mean, me and Draymond had a great conversation this morning. He told me to be patient and trust the team. I thought I exemplified that tonight”.

The warriors won knicks 111-101. They improved defensively, holding New York to 19 points in the first quarter. They had seven more rebounds. They received adequate bench production. The whole operation hummed with more exuberance.

But all eyes were on Thompson. The Warriors had called him out publicly and privately subliminally and directly in the 48 hours between games. How would the proud and stubborn shooter of all time do it? Would he tame his approach or would he make way for the noise?

The Warriors got their answer in the opening minutes. Thompson came off a screen on the right wing and received a pass from Draymond Green. Thompson had already hit a couple of jumpers, which usually motivates him to keep shooting any semi-decent looks he can find. But Thompson didn’t shoot this one. He felt the two defenders around him and dropped him on the cut Kevon Looneywho won two free throws.

Look at possession again. Keep an eye on the bench after the foul. Don DiVincenzo i Andre Iguodala both point to Thompson, acknowledging the sacrificial pass and the moment of growth, a theme they had flagged as a team in the morning meeting.

“Half-open look, and he moved it,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “That’s the way the game should be. Klay is such a great shooter that he’s constantly taking it down and two people are getting away from him, so if he just moves it, we automatically have an advantage.”

What did Thompson see when he turned on the movie Phoenix?

“He had some great looks early, but he could have rushed a few instead of moving the ball and getting a really easy one,” he said. “Not cutting hard enough. I thought I did tonight. When you do the easy ones early, the hard ones come in later.”

Thompson’s aggressive nature can never be suppressed. The moment he becomes a faltering 3-point shooter is the moment he becomes unplayable. He cannot lose his great ability. But there are nuances in the approach. Sometimes it’s better to serve as bait. Sometimes it’s better to move the ball to a hotter shooter. Sometimes it’s better to wait for a play to develop rather than hunt for something that isn’t there.

Kerr was asked before the game what kind of shots he wants Thompson to make.

“Just open some,” Kerr said. “I think our history here has been a team with ball movement. We are number 1 in attendance or get closer every year. When the ball moves, we tend to play better offensively, and Klay is often the beneficiary. I think he needs to look for simpler actions. If he has the ball and there’s nothing there, he just keeps going. The ball will find its way back to him and he will get better shots. This is the process that will unfold here in the coming weeks.”

Kerr’s prediction took three hours to materialize at the most crucial moment on Friday night. Thompson had played a patient game and in turn was given a higher number of efficient looks. He made eight of his 16 shots, the first game all season that he had made at least 50 percent.

“It felt amazing to have an efficient night from the field,” Thompson said.

GO FURTHER

Lineup changes, big trades and other options to get the Warriors out of this mess

The Knicks came in on a bit of a streak. They beat the nuggets i jazz to open this road trip. The Warriors jumped ahead of them early, but had cut it to 10 with less than five minutes remaining. The Warriors still had to finish.

With possession feeling like the dagger, Thompson brought the ball up the court. Instead of attacking, he threw it to Draymond Green at the top of the key and stayed on the left wing, spacing the floor.

The play materialized in a way that many of the Warriors’ best possessions do. Draymond Green set a high screen for Curry and the defense began to struggle. Curry’s layup to Draymond led to a ping in the corner, where JaMychal Green was. Jalen Brunsonon a questionable play, he sidestepped Thompson and ran toward JaMychal Green in the corner.

That led to an easy swing to an open Thompson, who took the kind of jumper the Warriors always want to create for him. The match had rewarded his patience.

How did that specific possession feel to Thompson?

“I thought it was amazing,” he said. “Especially when you’re shooting the ball. That’s the best feeling when a shooter is tickling the wire like that.”

It’s too soon to declare the Warriors’ problems solved. All they did was win a home game against an average team. This season they are 7-1 at home with a differential of more than 82 points and 0-8 on the road with a differential of less than 85 points. So the final judgment will come out of the Chase Center. They are in Houston and New Orleans on Sunday and Monday as they try to build on that momentum.

But Friday’s meeting is a hint of a possible turning point, and Thompson’s procedural approach was the first sign that accountability has turned into action.

“Very constructive meeting,” said Thompson. “Draymond definitely had the floor. He’s a great motivator. We all responded well. He can be very helpful. We thought this morning was an incredible moment of growth for our whole team.”

“We addressed a lot of things that needed to be addressed, and I think we’re starting to put it together,” JaMychal Green said. “We had that difficult conversation that a lot of people don’t want to have, but we had that conversation and it was very necessary. I think it made people more focused and stuck to what we need to do as a team.”

Here’s Thompson making a paper airplane while discussing it all.


Here’s the move of the night.

(Photo of Klay Thompson hitting a 3-pointer over Jalen Brunson in the third quarter Friday: Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)





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