Warriors’ Thompson shares details of pivotal conversation with Kerr

Golden State Warriors’ Klay Thompson #11 shoots a layup past Orlando Magic’s Franz Wagner #22 and Paolo Banchero #5 in the fourth quarter of their NBA game at the Chase Center in San Francisco, Calif., on Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2024. (Jane Tyska/Bay Area News Group)

SAN FRANCISCO — Klay Thompson shared a contemplative moment about his up-and-down season after the Warriors’ win against the Orlando Magic on Tuesday night.

Amid on-court chemistry issues team leaders say is contributing to their inconsistencies this year, Thompson and coach Steve Kerr sat down to discuss the 33-year-old veteran’s sour mood on the bench and put his career, and his role on this team, into perspective.

“That helped me relax a lot. Sometimes I forget just how successful and how lucky I’ve been to be part of championship teams and all-star games and gold medals,” Thompson said. “And when you want to get back to that level so badly, you can get in your own way rather than forcing it.”

Thompson has been benched in crunch time twice this year due to poor shot selection and a hyper-focus on getting back to his old self that dates back to last year in his first full season since returning from ACL and Achilles injuries. Kerr, Steph Curry and other Warriors teammates have spoken about the team’s lack of grit and collective focus as they bob above and below the .500 win percentage.

Frustrations have boiled over on the bench — sometimes he’s hitting chairs and visibly seething — on poor shooting nights. Tuesday he had a judicious 15 points shooting 6-of-11 from the field and 3-of-8 from 3.

Thompson’s expiring contract and impending free agency adds some pressure for the longtime Warrior to perform. On his mind is a troubling pace in which he’s posting career-lows in three-point percentage (37.7%) and points per game (16.7).

With similar troubles forcing shots early last season, Draymond Green had a similar conversation with Thompson to simmer down and look outside of himself, inspiring Thompson to finish the year strong carrying the scoring when Curry was out injured and finished with a 41.2 3-point percentage and league-best 301 3s. This time, it was Kerr who got in Thompson’s ear.

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