Fans of the Golden State Warriors have a lot of questions for star shooting guard Klay Thompson following two years away from the game.
On Saturday, June 5, Thompson went live on social media to answer a few of them while zipping around the Bay Area in his boat. One viewer asked the shooting guard how many points he would score next season. Thompson’s answer was not laced with bravado, but rather was team-oriented and unselfish.
“How many points am I going to average next year? You know, I’m not going to put an expectation on it,” Thompson said. “I just want to be an efficient player. I don’t care how many points I score.”
“I want to have a positive impact every time I’m on the hardwood,” he continued. “That real plus/minus stuff. That analytical stuff, you feel me?”
Thompson Has Long Been an Efficiency Nightmare For Opponents
Thompson has never had a problem putting the ball in the bucket. He is a career 19.5 points per game (ppg) scorer, averaging 21.5 ppg over his previous five seasons — the same five campaigns that ended with the Warriors in the Finals and/or hoisting the Championship trophy every single year.
From an efficiency standpoint, Thompson has also been stellar. Never in his career has he shot below 40% from the 3-point line, and has shot as high as 44% in a singular season. If you don’t already know, this is an insane level of efficiency in regards to the game’s most valuable shot.
The amount Thompson scores comparatively to the number of shots he takes to get there, combined with the space his lethal shooting creates for his teammates to operate (namely Steph Curry), Thompson’s offensive value extends well beyond what shows up on a traditional stat sheet. And as one of the best wing defenders in the NBA when healthy, he offers legitimate value on both sides of the basketball.
The real plus/minus statistic Thompson referenced in his live video is a measure of the point differential for a player’s team when he is on the court versus when he is off the court, while also adjusting for the impacts (both positive and negative) of the teammates on the floor beside him.
Per ESPN, Thompson boasted the top real plus/minus figure among shooting guards in 2016-17, posting a number of 3.98. According to the metrics, that equated to 11.01 wins for the Warriors over the course of the regular season. His number decreased the following two years, though he still finished in 6th and 7th place, respectively, among shooting guards in the statistical category.
Thompson Returns to a Warriors Team With High Expectations
It was only minutes after the Warriors season ended with a loss to the Memphis Grizzlies in the final NBA play-in tournament game that Curry took to the mic and put the entire NBA on notice.
“You don’t want to see us next year,” he said.
It was barely a week before outspoken Warriors forward Draymond Green told fans that his team was headed back to the Finals with designs on bringing home a title.
On Saturday, it was Thompson’s turn to reminisce. And to dream.
Bobbing his head rhythmically to a song by Canadian rapper Drake, which played through the stereo installed in his boat, Thompson remembered playing Game 6 of the NBA Finals against the Toronto Raptors. He remembered Drake sitting court side. He remembered basketball life before two years of nagging, gut-wrenching injury and rehab.
And he can’t wait to get back to it.
“That’s my last taste of hoops, man. NBA Finals,” Thompson said. “I miss it.”
Though, if Thompson can return to the player he was before the torn ACL and subsequent ruptured Achilles tendon, he may not be missing it for long.