Last season, Golden State Warriors shooting guard Klay Thompson was often criticized for having too quick a trigger from long range, despite owning one of the purest shooting strokes in the NBA. He finished 3rd in the league 3-point attempts, knocking down a solid 40.4% from beyond the arc.
That success hasn’t stopped Thompson from putting those criticisms to a good use. Klay said he entered the off-season with an increased focus on using a pump fake to get some shots closer to the rim.
“Last year I didn’t always look to get a shot closer to the basket,” Thompson said. “I’ve been working on my pump fake and footwork to take advantage of the defense playing tight, to try to get to the rim more.”
He also recognizes that finishing once he got to the rim was also a weakness for him last season. He said he’s tried to take a page from Stephen Curry‘s game by working on his floater.
“Watching Steph, and how easy it is for him and how creative he is at the rim, I think I can learn from that. You know, Steph and Tony Parker and Derrick Rose, they all have those great floaters,” said the Warriors’ shooting guard. “You can’t always get all the way to the rim in the NBA and that’s something I want use more in my game.”
Thompson also said he might try to dunk more, saying sometimes he surprises himself with his own leaping ability.
Another aspect you might see more of this coming season is his developing post-game. He lit up at the chance to talk about how much time he’s spent improving his offense in the post, even offering a rare smile.
“I’ve been working on that a lot, just running the 2-man game with Steph to get me down low a little bit more,” Thompson said. “A lot of people think a fade-away isn’t a good shot, but if I’m six feet from the basket, I can take advantage of my height and get a good look.”
Thompson said sometimes he can be one of the biggest road blocks to improving his game, and that he can get lost inside his own head.
“I try to tell myself, I’m still a young player in this league. There’s a lot of ways for me to improve my game and grow,” he said. “I just have to stay focused on the work I put on the court and trust myself.”
And don’t think he hasn’t heard talk of where he stands among the top shooting guards in the league. Asked what he thought about being rated in the NBA’s top 5 at the position, he said he wasn’t sure if he was there yet.
“There’s a lot of good young guards in this league. James Harden, Eric Gordon, Tyreke Evans,” Thompson said. “I don’t know if I’m quite there yet, but it’s definitely a goal for me to be in the Top 5.”
Be on the lookout for some changes to the 3rd-year shooting guard’s game when the Warriors begin preseason play in the next couple of weeks.