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Klay Thompson, Warriors are starting to figure it out
Some lineup shuffling and time
The Golden State Warriors stumbled out of the gate to start the season but have been trending in the right direction finally. For a team with championship aspirations, there’s no sugar coating the fact that a 7-9 start is far from ideal. But it’s a long season, and as this team has demonstrated: it’s not how you start, it’s all about how you finish your season.
The team hits the road for a back-to-back against the Houston Rockets today, followed by the New Orleans Pelicans tomorrow. Just four games back from 1st place, and trending in the right direction, this is their chance to finally win one on the road. The rebuilding and tanking Rockets have won a grand total of three games this season so this one will be an expected win for Golden State.
WHO: Golden State Warriors (7-9) at Houston Rockets (3-13)
WHEN: Sunday, November 20th, 2022 // 4pm PDT
Keeping it simple: Klay Thompson and the Warriors dialed in by dialing it back
The struggles have been well documented and were hardly surprising - okay, maybe a little bit surprising given the strong preseason showing. Klay Thompson took the offseason off. His mind and body worn down from a double rehab process that shot directly into the mouth of a successful title chase, it was a well earned break. But after skipping most of preseason, Thompson looked understandably rusty. Not just rusty, but physically slow. Again, understandable. But tough to watch as he labored to accelerate and decelerate at NBA speed; while also shooting his way through a rough patch of shooting.
After a team meeting prior to the team’s last game, Thompson just had his best performance of the season, by far.
“I watched a lot of film,” Thompson said. “And, uhh, you know, sometimes … yeah. I mean, me and Draymond had a great conversation this morning. He told me to be patient and trust the team. I thought I exemplified that tonight.”
Golden State itself did the opposite of taking the summer off. They jettisoned about a third of the minutes from last year’s championship squad and retooled around their three recent first round draft picks. Unfortunately, that second timeline isn’t ripe just yet. After sucking down sour lineups and living with the results over the first 10 games of the season or so, the Warriors sent James Wiseman down to the G league, and changed the minutes and rotations for the remaining players.
Since then, the Warriors are 4-2 over their last 6 games, with the 4th best Net Rating (and 5th best Defensive Rating in that timespan. It’s important to understand the interconnectedness in all of this. Rather than blame (or credit) just one player for the turnaround, let’s simply celebrate the overall impact on a Warriors team that suddenly looks a whole lot more like themselves.
Prior to the previous game, Thompson had the fourth worst shooting efficiency (for players with more than 100 shot attempts) out of the entire league. It’s a tough situation for a player that has built his entire career off of efficiently finishing plays.
But with Thompson finally showing signs that the struggles will finally be going away, it opens the door back up for a Warriors team that was expected to be amongst the best in the NBA.
The recent changes have fixed a lot of problems, and (again with the interconnections) the improvements are spilling over into many different aspects of the team. I’m not here to slander any member of the Warriors organization, but more to point out that the recent modifications have returned promising early returns.
There’s a lot of guess work involved with figuring out what works and what doesn’t work. While the Warriors aren’t going to be making any major roster shuffles right away, finding combinations that work well give the franchise a place to start moving forward.
At the core of it all, Stephen Curry is going to do whatever he can to pull this team back into the upper echelons:
Be sure to tune in this afternoon at 4 (or whatever time it may be where you are) for the Dubs first road win!