Klay Thompson responds to the Warriors’ team meeting with patience and efficiency

SAN FRANCISCO — The Warriors held a candid team meeting after shootaround Friday morning. Draymond Green, as Klay Thompson tells it, “held the flooring” for a good portion. JaMychal Green mentioned the team “addressed the elephants in the room.”

Elephants — plural — as a result of the Warriors have points — plural. In the 6-9 begin, they’d delivered a half-hearted team-wide defensive effort and had some grumbling about shifting, minimized roles. But the room’s largest elephant after Wednesday’s lifeless loss in Phoenix was Thompson’s thirsty shot choice, hijacking the offense in an try to detonate himself out of a deep capturing hunch. His teammates have been visibly pissed off.

“I watched numerous movies,” mentioned Thompson. “And, uhh, you already know, generally…yeah. I imply, me and Draymond had an ideal dialog this morning. He advised me to be affected person and belief the team. I believed I exemplified that tonight.”

The Warriors beat the Knicks 111-101. They have been juiced up defensively, holding New York to 19 first-quarter factors. They had seven extra rebounds. They obtained ample bench manufacturing. The total operation hummed with extra exuberance.

But all eyes have been on Thompson. The Warriors had publicly and privately known as him out subliminally and straight in the 48 hours between video games. How would the proud and cussed all-time shooter deal with it? Would he tame his strategy or chuck his approach by means of the noise?

The Warriors obtained their reply in the opening minutes. Thompson got here off a pindown display screen on the proper wing and was delivered a cross from Draymond Green. Thompson had already hit a few jumpers, which usually motivates him to maintain firing any semi-decent look he can discover. But Thompson did not shoot this one. He sensed the two defenders round him and dropped it off to the slicing Kevon Looney, who earned two free throws.

Rewatch the possession. Keep your eye on the bench after the foul. Donte DiVincenzo and Andre Iguodala each level out at Thompson, acknowledging the sacrificial cross and second of development, a topic they’d hammered as a team in the morning meeting.

“Semi-open look, and he moved it on,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr mentioned. “That’s how the sport is meant to look. Klay is such an ideal shooter that he is continually drawing closeouts and two persons are operating out on him, so if he simply strikes it, we routinely have a bonus.”

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

“Got nice appears early however may’ve rushed a couple of as an alternative of swinging the ball and getting a very easy one,” he mentioned. “Not slicing with sufficient pressure. I believed tonight I did that. When you make the straightforward ones early, the arduous ones go in later.”

Thompson’s aggressive nature can by no means be suppressed. The second he turns into a hesitant 3-point shooter is the second he turns into unplayable. He cannot lose his best talent. But there’s nuance to the strategy. Sometimes it is higher to function a decoy. Sometimes it is higher to transfer the ball to a warmer shooter. Sometimes it is higher to await a play to develop as an alternative of looking one thing that is not there.

Kerr was requested earlier than the sport which sort of pictures he needs Thompson to take.

“Just open ones,” Kerr mentioned. “I feel our historical past right here has been a ball-movement team. We are both No. 1 in assists or shut to it yearly. When the ball strikes, we have a tendency to play higher offensively, and Klay is the beneficiary of that always. I feel he wants to search for less complicated actions. If he is obtained the ball and there’s nothing there, simply transfer it on. The ball goes to discover its approach again to him, and he’ll get higher pictures. That’s the course of that may unfold right here in the subsequent couple of weeks.”

It took three hours for Kerr’s prediction to materialize in the most pivotal of Friday evening’s moments. Thompson had delivered a affected person sport and, in flip, had delivered the next variety of environment friendly appears. He made eight of his 16 pictures, the first sport all season he’d made a minimum of 50 p.c.

“Just felt unbelievable to have an environment friendly evening from the subject,” mentioned Thompson.

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The Knicks entered on a little bit streak. They beat the Nuggets and Jazz to open this highway journey. The Warriors jumped forward of them early, however they minimize it to 10 with beneath 5 minutes left. The Warriors nonetheless wanted to end.

On the possession that felt like the dagger, Thompson introduced the ball up the courtroom. Instead of attacking, he tossed it over to Draymond Green at the high of the key and stood on the left wing, spacing the flooring.

The play materialized in a approach lots of the finest Warriors’ possessions do. Draymond Green set a excessive display screen for Curry and the protection began scrambling. Curry’s dropoff to Draymond led to a ping into the nook, the place JaMychal Green stood. Jalen Brunson, in a questionable transfer, left Thompson on the wing and ran to JaMychal Green in the nook.

That led to a straightforward swing over to an open Thompson, who took the kind of catch-and-shoot jumper the Warriors at all times needed to create for him. The sport had rewarded his patience.

How did this particular possession really feel for Thompson?

“That felt superior,” he mentioned. “Especially if you swish the ball. That’s the finest feeling as a shooter is tickling the twine like that.”

It’s too early to declare the Warriors’ points solved. All they did was win a house sport in opposition to a median team. They’re 7-1 at house this season with a plus-82 level differential and 0-8 on the highway with a minus-85 level differential. So the final judgment will come away from the Chase Center. They are in Houston and New Orleans on Sunday and Monday as they fight to construct on this momentum.

But the Friday meeting is a touch at a doable turning level, and Thompson’s continuing strategy was the first signal of accountability turning into motion.

“Very constructive meeting,” Thompson mentioned. “Draymond undoubtedly held the flooring. He’s such an ideal motivator. We all responded effectively. It will be very helpful. We thought that this morning was an unbelievable time of development for our complete team.”

“We addressed numerous issues that wanted to be addressed, and I feel we’re beginning to get it collectively,” JaMychal Green mentioned. “We had that tough dialog that lots of people don’t desire to have, however we had that dialog, and it was a lot wanted. I feel it obtained individuals extra centered and locked in to what we have now to do as a team.”

Here is Thompson making a paper airplane whereas discussing all of it.


Here is the transfer of the evening.

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

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