Golden State Warriors star Klay Thompson has been on a minutes restriction to start the 2022-23 season, and head coach Steve Kerr acknowledged Tuesday that the veteran is frustrated he's not playing more.
Kerr told reporters:
"He's frustrated that he can't play more right now. He'd like to have his minutes bumped up, but the reality is you get a little older as a player when you've had some injuries is you've got to be a little more patient. You have to be on top of everything all year long, and you've got to be careful. We're not going to mess around with that.
"So, his minutes will stay the same and he'll be frustrated because he's Klay, but he'll be fine."
The Warriors have been cautious with Thompson's return to the floor this season given his injury history. He did not participate in scrimmages during training camp and also appeared in just one of the team's preseason games.
As Thompson continues to work on his conditioning, he told reporters Tuesday that he knows he still has "another level to get to" in order to get back to his typical workload, adding that he thinks he'll be able to do that "sooner than later."
"I'm such a perfectionist, I want to be great right now," Thompson said. "But I got to realize, man, it's a long season. I'd rather peak come playoff time rather than early November or into January."
Entering Tuesday's game against the Phoenix Suns, Thompson was averaging 23.4 minutes per night through Golden State's first three games. The three-time NBA champion typically plays between 30-35 minutes per game.
Thompson averaged 14.0 points, 3.3 rebounds and 3.0 assists through the team's first three games while shooting 40.5 percent from the floor and 34.8 percent from deep.
After a two-year hiatus because of injuries—a torn ACL in 2019-20 and a torn Achilles in 2020-21—Thompson returned to the court in January of the 2021-22 campaign and appeared in 32 games, averaging 29.4 minutes per night.
The 32-year-old averaged 20.4 points, 3.9 rebounds and 2.8 assists while shooting 42.9 percent from the floor and 38.5 percent from deep.
Thompson returned to his normal workload in the 2022 playoffs, averaging 36.0 minutes per game and averaging 19.0 points, 3.9 rebounds and 2.3 assists in 22 games while shooting 42.9 percent from the floor and 38.5 percent from deep.
It's clear Thompson will return to his normal workload, but the Warriors are smart to use him less than 30 minutes per night to open the season, especially considering they opened the season with a 2-1 record and have plenty of depth.