Golden State Warriors: Klay Thompson's 5 Best Games as a Warrior
With Monta Ellis now gone, Klay Thompson is the man who has to fill his shoes.
We all know how most of the Golden State Warrior fanbase feels about Ellis' being exiled, but in the short time they've had him, the Warriors brass must believe that Thompson is ready to fill the scoring void left by Monta.
After all, they did trade their best player for a guy who plays in less games than Stephen Curry, so Thompson better be that guy.
Here are the five recent games in which Thompson has shown flashes that he's ready to take the next step and ease the pain of Ellis' departure.
1. 1/6/12 vs. the Los Angeles Lakers
This one is not even in Thompson's top-15 stat lines this year, and you will only see his name mentioned once in this highlight, but I put this game in here because he helped keep the Warriors in this game until the end.
That and because in only his seventh game in the NBA, and in Los Angeles no less, this was the first time where he showed that he belonged in this league.
Playing only 21 minutes, Thompson connected on 6-of-8 shots and played in critical minutes. This game really showed what he is capable of doing in this league and showed why the Warriors took him 11th overall. This game may very well have been the start of what eventually became the end of Monta Ellis.
2. 2/9/12 vs. the Denver Nuggets
In a February game in Denver, Thompson went 8-of-11 from the floor, had three three-pointers and again played crucial minutes. This time, though, it led to a Warriors' win which makes this game an easy call as one of his top five games.
What was really nice to see was he did a lot of his damage in the fourth quarter, and late in this highlight, you can see him take it to the basket, showing that he really can do it all offensively.
Most importantly, he did this while Stephen Curry was on the floor. They haven't had the chance to play together given that Curry gets hurt every other trip down the court, but this proved that they are able to work together.
Even if it was only one this very small sample shows Warrior fans what they can look forward to.
3. 3/14/12 vs. the Boston Celtics
In Thompson's first home game since the Ellis' trade (and at least a full hour knowing he is going to be a starter that night), he shined as the new starting shooting guard for the Warriors.
On 9-of-16 shooting, including three three-pointers and five assists, Klay led the team with 29 points and kept the Warriors within a Nate Robinson three from coming out on top.
Number's aside, after the game, Thompson proved he understands what it is going to take to start turning loses like this one into wins, as he stated,
“We’ve just got to be that much more unselfish, and we’ve just got to play that much harder on the defensive end. We can’t give up easy buckets, because we don’t have Monta there to bail us out and score 40 a game.”
He's right on, their defense has to get better, and on nights that they don't bring it defensively, if anyone is going to bail them out, it might have to be him from now on.
4. 3/24/12 vs. the Sacramento Kings
Thompson had the biggest game of his career the other night against the Sacramento Kings that included 31 points with four threes on 50 percent shooting.
What's even better his defense helped get the win for the Warriors as he contributed two steals and two blocks.
What doesn't get talked about enough with this guy is his free-throw shooting, Thompson went 7-of-7 from the free-throw line as he is now shooting 89 percent from the charity strip this season. A full 10 percent better than Ellis, yes, far fewer attempts, but when he does go to the line, he's making them.
These are exactly the kind of games he needs to help Warrior fans forget about Monta Ellis.
5. 3/21/12 vs. the New Orleans Hornets
In his best game overall, Thompson had 27 points to go with five assists and five rebounds against a surprisingly competitively New Orleans Hornets team.
In a win, Thompson had this to say after the game:
“I was being aggressive. I thought they were 24 good shots. There were a couple maybe that were rushed and not through the offense. Not a lot of rookies get the opportunity to put up shots like that. I’m just glad that coach (Mark) Jackson has the confidence in me to take those shots and play my game.”
It's good to hear that this early in his career that not only his coach believes in him, but that he is not afraid to keep shooting. Especially since he was coming off three straight games shooting under 40 percent, showing that he could come back and set a career high in attempts proves that he has no fear.
Hopefully, Thompson will have a lot more games like this one, and assuming you went temporarily blind during the 50-second mark, this is exactly the kind of highlight that Warrior fans want to see more of in the future.