Warriors’ Klay Thompson Gets Brutally Honest About Benching

Steve Kerr, Klay Thompson, Warriors, NBA
Oct 21, 2022; San Francisco, California, USA; Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr and guard Klay Thompson (11) watch during the second half of the game against the Denver Nuggets at Chase Center. Mandatory Credit: John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports

For a long time, Golden State Warriors shooting guard Klay Thompson was one of the most impactful two-way players in the NBA. Not only did he help revolutionize the game as we know it today with Stephen Curry, but he was as good as it gets on the defensive end of the court.

Unfortunately, all good things come to an end eventually and we could be seeing the end of Thompson in Golden State. What he was able to do, returning to the court after missing more than two full seasons because of injuries, was incredible. But, he hasn’t been the same player since.

Thompson showed flashes at times of his pre-injury self, getting hot at points shooting the ball. But some of his quickness and athleticism never returned which isn’t surprising; how many people come back from an ACL or Achilles injury and return to form, let alone both one after the other?

NBA NEWS & TRADE RUMORS: Klay Thompson, Steve Kerr, Golden State Warriors Updates

With his production on the court waning, head coach Steve Kerr has made some very difficult decisions. While Thompson is still in the starting lineup, he has been used less and less to close out games recently.

On Monday night, the Warriors defeated the Brooklyn Nets 109-98. For the second time in three games, Thompson was not part of the closing lineup Kerr opted to go with. After the game, it was something he spoke candidly about, admitting it isn’t easy to watch from the sidelines.

“Yeah,” Thompson said, when asked if his changing role has been an adjustment. “You kidding me? Go from, you know, one of the best players … it’s hard for anybody.

“I’ll be honest with you. It’s very hard.”

On Monday, Kerr subbed Thompson out with 7:19 remaining in the game and he never got back on the court. Gui Santos, who has 61 NBA minutes to his name, closed the game out against the Nets over Thompson.

The only reason Thompson closed in the game before that, against the Memphis Grizzlies, seems to have been because of an Andrew Wiggins injury. Wiggins hurt his ankle in the first half and didn’t return to the game.

NBA NEWS & TRADE RUMORS: Klay Thompson, Steve Kerr, Golden State Warriors Updates

Thompson is in the midst of the worst shooting season of his career. He is making only 41.5 percent of his shot attempts, which would be a career low. His 37.1 percent from the 3-point range would also be a career low and only the second time his percentage is below 40 percent in his career.

Golden State could live with his drop-off in shooting if he were still playing defense at a high level, but that is no longer the case either. His fall from grace, combined with the lack of production from Andrew Wiggins, has put the Warriors in a very tough spot.

Winning NBA games is still the No. 1 goal for the Warriors, and Kerr is going to do what he feels puts the team in the best position to accomplish that. Right now, that plan includes not using Thompson down the stretch of games.

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