Warriors Bench Klay Thompson Amid Poor Season; New Lineup Revealed

Klay Thompson, Golden State Warriors, NBA Trade Rumors
Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

Klay Thompson was removed from the starting lineup for the Golden State Warriors matchup against the Utah Jazz during Thursday’s NBA action, as reported by Anthony Slater of The Athletic.

In a surprising move, Brandin Podziemski was moved into Thompson’s usual spot despite Thompson not being mentioned on the team’s injury report.

Thompson came off the bench for the first time since his rookie season in 2011-12. Throughout his tenure with the Warriors spanning a decade, Thompson has been a fixture in the starting lineup, amassing 699 starts across 10 seasons.

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

Podziemski is set to join starters Stephen Curry, Andrew Wiggins, Jonathan Kuminga, and Draymond Green. This season, Thompson’s performance has seen a dip, with an average of 17.0 points per game and a 41.5 percent shooting accuracy from the field across 49 starts, his least productive since the 2012-13 season and most erratic since his rookie year.

The decision to bench Thompson follows a critical mistake during the final moments of a 130-125 defeat to the Los Angeles Clippers the previous night, where he fouled Russell Westbrook intentionally with the game closely contested, against the plans of Warriors coach Steve Kerr.

“We didn’t want a foul,” Kerr said after the loss. “We’re down three with 38 seconds, so it’s an obvious defend and just play it out and get a rebound, and then it’s a one-possession game.”

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

In contrast, Podziemski’s recent performance, including a career-high 25 points during the loss to the Clippers, has been promising. The 21-year-old rookie, with 13 starts this season, is averaging 9.8 points per game and boasts a 46.5 percent shooting accuracy over 46 games.

Thompson, who celebrated his 34th birthday in February, has openly discussed the challenge of adjusting to reduced playing time in light of emerging talents like Podziemski, expressing a mix of difficulty and acceptance of the situation for the sake of team dynamics and the success of younger players.

“To go from one of the best players…It’s hard for anybody,” Thompson said after the Warriors’ Feb. 5 win against the Brooklyn Nets. “I’ve accepted it,” the veteran guard added. “You can be mad, but I’m not gonna be mad. I’m happy for these young guys, obviously.”

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

As the Warriors aimed to bounce back from a recent loss and continue their winning streak, they look towards Podziemski’s continued contribution and Thompson’s adaptability in his new role against the Jazz.

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