Why the Warriors can’t forget about Klay Thompson

KELLY: Let’s just say the Warriors might have made news this week when they secured the biggest free agent signing of the offseason – Kevin Durant.

I was really excited for the move which you can hear on our latest – emergency – edition of The Power Couple Podcast. However, I listened to The Ringer’s NBA podcast on my drive home from work today and Chris Ryan and Juliet Litman made me a hair nervous.

The line that moved me the most was the idea Klay Thompson could end up being the Kevin Love of the Warriors – the guy that the team sends to corner to shoot threes and leaves there.

And I can see why, on the surface, this would make some sense. Thompson is the straight shooter, the one with the best form. He shot .425 from three, just slightly down from his .470 field goal percentage.

But to send him to the corner would take away huge chunks of what makes Thompson so special. He can drive to the basket – I love the reverse – and create off the dribble if he needs to. It’s not his best skill, but he did it in the playoffs against Portland when Steph was out and it worked.

Last year, he increased his production from around the hoop, not only taking more shots from 0-3 feet from the basket than he did in 2014-2015, but he also increased his make percentage from that area as well. He shot .687 from that distance, up from .682 and took .182 of his shots from that distance, up from .172 the year before. To take away this part of his game that has only gotten better would be devastating.

He’s also an incredible two-way player and is a much better defender than people realize. He’s guarded some of the toughest players in the league – Russell Westbrook, Damian Lillard, LeBron James, Kyrie Irving – and they don’t all play the same position.

I’d be scared of the repercussions if they stuck him in the corner and just left him there while Steph Curry and Kevin Durant run the offense. I still think Durant is an incredible pickup for them and I will be rooting for them, because I enjoy watching this group of players.

However, to Steve Kerr and all the Warriors out there, just a reminder – nobody puts Klay in the corner.


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