Klay Thompson

Seeing Klay come off Warriors' bench was ‘weird' for Steph

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Before Brandin Podziemski got the starting nod against the Utah Jazz last Thursday, Klay Thompson hadn’t come off the Warriors’ bench since his rookie 2011-2012 NBA season.

Although a 140-137 road win for Golden State at Delta Center, in which Thompson excelled, superstar Warriors teammate Steph Curry felt some way about seeing his Splash Brother act as a sixth man.

In speaking to ESPN’s Malika Andrews in an exclusive interview that debuted Monday, Curry explained his reaction to Thompson’s new role.

“It was weird,” Curry told Andrews. “I’ve come off the bench a couple of times and seen him start, so it was weird to switch roles.”

Curry has come off the bench before -- notably during Golden State’s 2022 NBA Finals run. But as Thompson’s teammate of 13 seasons, it was odd for Curry to see the lineup change from the opposite perspective.

Nonetheless, the 10-time NBA All-Star was proud of his teammate’s response to a demotion. One game into the change, Thompson appears to have embraced his role.

“For him, there’s only one way for him to respond: the way that he did,” Curry stated. I think there’s been a lot of narratives around his season and since he’s come back from his injuries – a lot unfair. 

“I think the natural evolution of all of our careers is trying to figure out how to continue to win, but it might look a little different. The way that he responded is the Klay Thompson that I know -- the true competitor, the true dawg. He got pissed off and said, ‘Watch this.’ I think a lot of it is just knowing who he is.”

Like Curry said, Thompson responded to Kerr’s adjusted lineup with an impressive 35 points on 59.1-percent shooting.

However, Thompson has struggled for much of the 2023-24 NBA season, averaging career lows in field goal percentage (42.1) and 3-pointing percentage (37.3). At 34, Thompson also scores 17.3 points per game, his lowest figure since the 2012-13 season (16.6) when he was 22.

As Thompson figures out his new role within the aging Golden State roster, Curry refuses to lose sight of what No. 11 means to the Warriors.

“However it looks moving forward, for us, it has just always been about our team’s success -- the root of everything. And he’s as important to that as anybody.”

At 27-26, Golden State has a long way to go to play for an eighth Larry O'Brien Championship Trophy -- and fifth with this core. 

Curry believes Thompson will be a routinely crucial part of the Warriors' typical big-time goals.

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