Klay Thompson hasn't been himself so far this season. Forty-six times, he has attempted a 3-pointer. Thirty-seven times, he has missed. That's a 19.6 percent 3-point percentage, and it has dragged his overall field goal percentage to 38.4 percent even though he's making a career-high 54.7 percent of his shots inside the arc.
These numbers are extremely weird, considering the Golden State Warriors guard is viewed as one of the best shooters alive. This is the reigning 3-point shootout champion, a Splash Brother, and the guy who made 42 percent of his 3s in his first five years in the league. Some people, including this writer and Warriors coach Steve Kerr, think his shooting form is purer and prettier than Stephen Curry's.
Of course, the major difference between this Golden State team and all the others is the presence of Kevin Durant. Thompson, though, insisted on Monday that his early-season shooting slump has nothing to do with his new teammate, via ESPN's Ethan Sherwood Strauss:
"Not at all," Thompson said at shootaround when asked if his cold spell had anything to do with Durant. "I struggled last year for the first 20 games, and Kevin wasn't here. So it has nothing to do with Kevin."
"So last year I struggled, then I went on a tear, so it's just like any other season," Thompson said, looking to the future. "Obviously we have different players, but I'm still getting the shots I always got before he was here, so it's not on Kevin at all."
Despite Thompson's comments, it's likely that the addition of Durant is a factor here. It's not Durant's fault, and he shouldn't exactly be blamed, but there have been games where the Warriors' offense has lacked the flow that it has had for most of the last two seasons. Early on, Kerr talked about Golden State creating open shots, but not rhythm shots, and many of Thompson's attempts certainly fall in that category.
Thompson is correct to point out that he has been through things like this before. Last season, he shot an uncharacteristic 5-for-17 from 3-point range in the first five games. Still, a night like Friday, where Thompson went 4-for-18 and scored just 10 points in 38 minutes in a loss to the Los Angeles Lakers, is more than a little bit jarring. Usually, scoring points seems easy for Thompson. Against the Lakers, everything he did looked like a struggle.
Judging by his comments, Thompson is planning to do what every marksman does in these situations: shoot his way out of it. That might be a bit tougher on this team because he's no longer the clear second option on offense. The challenge for him will be trying to find his form without forcing anything.