It looks like Klay Thompson’s first game performance against the Los Angeles Lakers was no mirage. So far this season, Thompson has looked like a far better player than he did during his first two seasons. Not only has Thompson been splashing the trey but he has been driving the ball to the rack and playing stout defense. I will not go as far as the outlandish Charles Barkley, who said that he would rather build a franchise around Klay Thompson instead of Stephen Curry but Thompson has put himself into position to be an elite player.
We must not forgot that the 6’7 Thompson is a huge shooting guard who can use his size to create mismatches. Last night against the Kings, Thompson was covered by point guard Isiah Thomas on a switch and instead of trying to move to the three point line Thompson posted Thomas up for an easy bucket. For the first time in Thompson’s young career he is taking the ball to the hoop with authority. Gone are the days of the meager “klayup” as the bulkier Thompson is getting to the hoop with ease.
One of the key reasons why Thompson has looked so much better this year is that he doesn’t have to worry about shutting down the opposing team’s top scorer. The addition of Andre Iguodala should help Thompson focus on offense a bit more. Even though Thompson won’t cover top tier talent he has shown that he is more comfortable at the defensive end this year. His added bulk will allow him to hold his ground against shooting guards and small forwards.
The most important piece of the puzzle for Thompson is keeping his confidence up. Last season, Thompson looked lost for huge portions of the game if he got off to a slow start. Not only would Thompson look scared if he had the ball late in games but he would be hesitant with the ball. This season not only has Thompson looked confident on the perimeter but he is also creating his own shot with ease. If Thompson can continue his torrid pace expect him to average close to 18 points per game this season and put himself into position to be an All-Star down the line.