Golden State Warriors: Can Klay Thompson Lead Warriors with Curry Out?

Joshua J VannucciniSenior Analyst IIIJanuary 30, 2013

ATLANTA, GA - DECEMBER 15:  Klay Thompson #11 of the Golden State Warriors drives against Al Horford #15 of the Atlanta Hawks at Philips Arena on December 15, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

In an unfortunate swing of events, Stephen Curry has once again injured his ankle. According to SB Nation, it is classified as a "mild" sprain. Curry suffered it after he rolled it on Ed Davis' foot during Golden State's victory over Toronto. It is doubtful he will need anything more than rest, however, it becomes a question as to who will lead the Warriors without their point guard. Is Klay Thompson fit for the job?

The second-year guard is averaging 16.5 points for Golden State, all the while on 41.2 percent from the field and 39 percent from beyond the arc. He's also stellar from the charity stripe, shooting 90.1 percent. It's obvious Thompson's future in the league is as a shooter. 

His 6'7" frame gives him the benefit of shooting over smaller opponents, but he can also take taller defenders off the dribble and to the rim. Thompson is only shooting 26.5 percent in isolations this season, but is absolutely devastating in spot-up situations. His 46.1 percentile on such offense is very high, in addition to his 45.5 from deep. He is even more deadly in transition at 49.6 percent, and is dropping 35.5 percent of his transition three-pointers.

However, the question still at hand is whether or not Thompson can step up with Curry possibly missing time. In the three games their point guard has missed, the 2-guard put up 32 points in last night's win over Cleveland, 21 points against the Spurs on January 18th and just two points against Miami in the middle of the month.

Thompson's output against the Heat was dreadful, shooting 1-for-8 while committing four turnovers and three fouls in 29 minutes of action. It's never accurate to use selective statistics, yet this matchup isn't entirely useful considering the one-sided nature of the two teams, in addition to Thompson's limited minutes.

However, the previous two games give him an average of 21.5 points on 45.4 percent shooting, 52.6 from deep. Thompson was able to keep his turnovers and fouls limited, averaging 2.5 and and 1.5 respectively. 

Last night's contest against the Cavaliers gave Thompson a much-needed boost of confidence in terms of production. He has exponentially raised his shooting percentages by the month, going from 38.6 in December to 44 percent this month. While Cleveland doesn't possess the best defensive system in the league, it would be inaccurate to label Thompson's huge game as streaky.

With Curry out, it gave the wingman a chance to prove his worth as the sole consistent perimeter scorer at Golden State's disposal. Depending on the point guard's recovery, the Warriors might need more from Thompson going forward. He has already displayed a willingness and the ability to do so. Only time will tell if he's the real deal. 

All statistics courtesy of .