Warriors Coach Steve Kerr Offers Fascinating Solution to the Klay Thompson Conundrum

Steve Kerr, Warriors

Getty Head Coach Steve Kerr of the Golden State Warriors watches his team during a game.

As Golden State Warriors former All-Star Klay Thompson faces his basketball mortality, his coach, Steve Kerr, has a fascinating solution to resuscitate his rapidly fading career.

His solution?

Reduced Thompson’s minutes even more.

“He plays through everything,” Kerr told reporters after benching Thompson down the stretch in their road win in Brooklyn on February 5. “I’d like to get some of our depth back so that we can give him a little more rest and maybe not play him on some back-to-backs, try to ease the load that he has but Klay’s going to help us win plenty of games going forward.”

Thompson watched the final 7:19 of the game on the bench with Kerr leaning on their young guys — rookies Brandin Podziemski, Gui Santos and rising third-year wing Jonathan Kuminga — to finish the job with mainstays Stephen Curry and Draymond Green .

Klay Thompson Opens up on 4th Qtr Benching

Thompson played 19 minutes in the first half and only 11 minutes after halftime. It was the second time in the Warriors’ last 3 games that Thompson was not part of the closing lineup.

He did not hold back when asked about his current situation.

“You kidding me? Go from, you know, one of the best players … it’s hard for anybody. I’ll be honest with you. It’s very hard,” Thompson told reporters after the Warriors beat the Nets 109-98.

Kerr tried to diffuse the rising temperature in the Warriors’ locker room.

“He’s fine,” Kerr said of Thompson. “This is a season where he’s had a lot of ups and downs. It’s not easy for a guy who’s been so good and a Hall of Fame player to deal with the injuries and it’s never easy for any player, getting older. [But] he’s mentally tough.”

Klay Thompson’s Slump

Thompson has slumped over their last 3 games, averaging just 10.7 points on a rough 32.6% field goal shooting and 16.0% from the 3-point line.


“He’s played a lot and this was our third [game] in four nights,” Kerr said. “So it’s all part of it but everybody has struggled during the season and you just have to play through them and I thought he did a good job tonight moving the ball and on the glass and his minutes were good.”

Thompson had 8 points on 4 of 9 shooting, 6 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals before he was benched.

“So he contributed and it’s just there’s a spotlight on him because of how great he is because of the career he’s had,” Kerr explained. “I don’t think that should be the story tonight. The story should be we won a game on the road against a team that’s been playing well and we had multiple guys who stepped in with Lester [Quiñones] and Moses [Moody] and Gui [Santos]. That’s the story of tonight’s game.”

Warriors Young Players’ Development

Quiñones struggled from the field with only 3 points on 1 of 7 shooting. But the Dominican-American wing made an impact even without scoring. He contributed 7 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals.

Moody returned from a calf injury and had 4 points in 16 minutes. The Warriors outscored the Nets by 4 when Moody was on the floor.

Santos, the Brazilian rookie who spent most of his time in the G League with the Santa Cruz Warriors, had the most impact with 9 points, 5 rebounds, 2 blocks and 1 steal. He was a game-high plus-13 in 18 minutes.

“I’ve accepted it,” Thompson said. “I could be mad, but I’m happy for these young guys, honestly. Yeah. We won. And it’s hard to get wins in this league.

“[Santos] played so hard. I am happy for Gui. I mean, incredible. He’s in The [G League], to come up here and make an impact like that? Incredible.”


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