Four pressing questions facing Klay Thompson and Warriors ahead of the return of the sniper hunter

Someday soon, the rich will get richer and richer.

Much richer.

After missing the 2019-20 season with a torn ACL on the left and the 2020-21 season with a torn Achilles on the right, it looks like Klay Thompson will return to the much-anticipated Warriors by Christmas. It was reported a few months ago that the Warriors have targeted Christmas Day itself for the All-Star comeback five times, but recent reports suggest that it could come a game or two sooner.

Thompson appears to have confirmed those reports.

The Warriors had one of the best league records this season without Thompson. It remains to be seen how he reacts to missing two consecutive seasons with significant injuries, but he gives Golden State even more star power as it pursues another championship.

How good can the Warriors be with Thompson? That depends on a few factors.

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What can the Warriors expect from offensive Klay Thompson?

This is your reminder that Thompson is one of the greatest ADCs we’ve ever seen.

During his career, Thompson averaged 7.0 times 3 points per game and converted them at 41.9%. He’s ranked 21st all-time in terms of 3-pointers taken and 13th in career 3-point percentages. Few players cause fear beyond the 3-point line like Thompson. Even little run hot like him.

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The majority of Thompson’s 3-point efforts throughout his career have been of the catch-and-shoot type, but he’s more than just a deadlocked shooter. Before his injury, he was the league’s top scorer turn off the screen, peaked in 2018-19 with a career-best 7.3 points per game on those innings.

Sometimes a simple cape is all Thompson needs to shake…

… but he is one of the more active players in the league.

Like Stephen Curry, Thompson is a genius when it comes to manipulating the screen to his advantage, and he has brought teams down with his constant movement. There’s a reason why he’s consistently among the league leaders in distance traveled when committing crime.

Thompson was also a top scorer during the transition. He didn’t create much for himself in those situations – he didn’t need Curry, Kevin Durant and Draymond Green to ramp up the pace – but he put constant pressure on by running the floor when he missed and navigation.

It’s hard to imagine Thompson not being an excellent deadlocked shooter when he returns, but after two shin injuries it will be interesting to see if he can continue to do the things that have made him special or not.

Of course, Thompson isn’t just a 3-point shooter. He has become more comfortable exploiting the frequent mismatches in the hand and he is more than capable of punishing teams for getting too close to him at the 3-pointer with mid-range sprints and great shots. the ball on the basket.

Not that he used to be a leapfrog many times, but Thompson has grown into one of the most effective hoops finishers. for his position.

Again, it will be interesting to see how the injuries he suffered impact his portion of the game.

“I anticipate coming back with a small number of bounces, but I feel like I can get it back.” Thompson told reporters recently. “Lucky for me, my game isn’t based on jumping 12 feet. …My game is based on skill, so I know I can come back and still be really good.”

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What can the Warriors expect from the Klay Thompson defence?

Thompson should be able to make a powerful impact with his 3-point shot power alone. Defense is a question mark for him.

A one-time member of the comprehensive Defensive Second Team, Thompson was one of the best full-backs in the league before his injury. Not only can he comfortably defend the post, shoot guard, and small strikers, but he also regularly takes on the challenge of defending the opposing team’s best outfield player.

Look at the list of Thompson players spend the most time matching in his past healthy season and you’ll see the likes of Damian Lillard, Donovan Mitchell, Luka Doncic, Devin Booker and James Harden.

Will Thompson still have the agility and athleticism to protect the smaller guards? If the answer is no, he will be more limited in defending his position.

The good news for the Warriors is that they were already the best defensive team in the league without Thompson. In his absence, Andrew Wiggins took on the role of Golden State’s defensive backstop on the flanks. Also, Curry has improved so much as a defender since Thompson’s last appearance and Green is still at the peak of his defensive prowess, to the point where he’s the frontrunner for the Defensive Player award. best during a quarter of the season.

The Warriors would take it to another level if Thompson were anything close to the defender he used to be, but they won’t. as rely on his flexibility when it comes back.

In the end, as long as Thompson doesn’t drop to the point where he’s someone teams can choose to defend, the Warriors should be fine.

(Beautiful pictures)

How does Klay Thompson’s return impact the rotation?

The Golden State starting lineup for all but one game this season is Curry, Jordan Poole, Wiggins, Green and Kevon Looney.

Assuming the plan is for Thompson to return to the starting lineup, the most obvious candidate for him to replace is Poole.

As good as Poole is this season, moving him to the bench would make him the sixth Golden State player and give the Warriors another spark on the bench. Depending on what they need, Poole still has a chance to finish the game as head coach Steve Kerr picks Green in the center.

In 44 games Poole came off the bench in 2020-21, he averaged 10.5 points in 17.1 minutes on .429 / .347 / .872 shots.

Thompson’s return will likely affect the minutes of other players on the roster. The Warriors are currently running 11 teams deep, with five starting appearances at the moment plus Gary Payton II, Damion Lee, Andre Iguodala, Juan Toscano-Anderson, Nemanja Bjelica and Otto Porter Jr, each receiving actual minutes. Several have been in and out of the squad through injury, but Kerr will have some tough rotational decisions to make when they’re at their prime.

As the #2 pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, James Wiseman was considered part of the rotation as he also returned from injury.

Depth was an issue for the Warriors last season. This season, not so much.

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How much better are Warriors vs Klay Thompson?

Based on the numbers, much better.

Since 2011-12, the Warriors have outscored their opponents by 9.8 points per 100 possession with Curry and Green on the field and Thompson on the bench, per PBP . Stats. Pretty good, right? Well, with Curry, Thompson and Green on the field, the Warriors overcame the competition by – wait – 17.0 points out of 100 possessions.

The Warriors have posted an offensive rating of 120.2 and a defensive rating of 103.2 with three of them in the lineup.

Warrior lineup combinations since 2011-12 (PBP Statistics)
Player is on Player off Net Rtg Turn off Rtg Def Rtg
Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green 17.0 120.2 103.2
Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson Draymond Green 6.4 112.7 106.3
Stephen the curry, Draymond Green Klay Thompson 9.8 115.9 106.1
Klay Thompson, Draymond Green Stephen the curry 1.5 105.3 103.8

They probably won’t fully return to such dominance, but Thompson should make Curry and Green’s lives easier by giving them more space to operate in attack and another smart defender to play. defense.

Add all the weapons around them that this Warriors team currently has and it’s scary to think about how good they are.

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