Klay Thompson responds emphatically about his season-long shooting slump


OAKLAND – Klay Thompson plopped into a seat after practice Thursday and spent nearly six minutes denying any frustration with his subpar shooting while absolutely conveying frustration.

Thompson is in the midst of his worst shooting season, particularly with his signature shot, the 3-pointer. He’s 35 games into his eighth NBA season and his efficiency is at an all-time low.

Here is the full transcript of the session:

Reporter: Klay, I don’t think anyone is harder on themselves than you are when your shot is not where you want it to be . . .

Thompson: I don’t know what you’re talking about.

R: Is there a mental side to it?

KT: No, I’m not hard on myself at all, to be honest. I care, but I don’t lose sleep over it.

R: No, I understand what you meant. I know you’re very competitive and I know you want to be there for your team. And if your shot’s not quite where you want it to be . . .

KT: I’m there for our team. We’re in first place. I’m there every single night.

R: You’re an excellent defender as well . . .

KT: I’m there every single night.

R: What would you like to see come through on your shot a little bit more?

KT: Umm . . . I don’t know. More makes? Just make the shots more? It’s that simple.

R: How old do the questions about the shooting slump get?

KT: I don’t care. I don’t think it’s a shooting slump. I really don’t. And especially, yeah, like I said, I don’t care. Yeah.

R: What do you think it is, if it’s not a slump?

KT: Ahh, I don’t know. What do you think it is? Aren’t we in first place?

R: Yep.

KT: Exactly.

R: Your percentage of midrange (shots) are up, which means that you’re taking a lot more. Is there a reason for that?

KT: No. Just take what the defense gives me. And, yeah, if they’re going to give me midrange shots, I’m going to knock them down. I’m going to shoot ‘em.

R: Knowing the team’s success aside, generally (coach Steve Kerr) has often said when shots you take that you only make don’t normally go in, a lot of times it has to do with the ball moving well. What’s your perspective of that?

KT: I think we can do a better job with moving the ball. And I think we will. We’ve had, I mean, been (hampered) by injuries this year, so we haven’t been able to get in a great rhythm like we have in the past, especially with the way we started the season. But . . . yeah, I think it can be better. And it will get better.

R: Your teammates, in talking to KD and Steph and the guys, they all are used to seeing you shoot better. But they also say ‘We’re still with him. We’re going to support him. We believe and have faith in him that the shots are going to fall.’ How does it feel to have your teammates back you up like that?

KT: I’d hope they do. God. I would think they would say that. Shoot. If they said I wasn’t going to get them to fall, it would be scary. I’d rather have it fall come playoff time than in December. Just because I’ve had a few bad games in a row, I’m not going to worry about not shooting the ball well. I’m one of the best shooters to ever play, so I don’t really care what people say.

R: Steph also said that sometimes, that we’re going to stay in his ear, meaning, I guess, that they’re going to keep communicating with you. Do you get a lot of people talking to you about your shot at all?

KT: Naw. What is someone going to tell me about my jump shot that I can’t fix, at this point? Unless it’s Reggie Miller or Ray Allen, I don’t know who I’m supposed to listen to. Larry Bird? Steve Kerr. I’ll listen to Steve Kerr. Steve shot 45 percent. But other than that, I’ve done this job for a long enough time that I know what I need to do.

R: Do you feel like you need to do anything? Does it feel like . . .

KT: Not really. Just have fun. Play the game. Play loose. Let it fly. Don’t be hesitant. Do those things, and we’ll be great.

R: You’ve said in the past that maybe when shots aren’t falling the same that you look at other things as part of your game, such as attacking the basket. How much do you see that as part of your approach?

KT: Honestly, I don’t even look at anything anymore. I’m just trying to go there and have fun and play hard. If you do that and play with great focus, play with great focus and play hard, you’re going to be successful. And that’s what I’m going to keep doing. At the end of the day, yeah, my shot might not be going in as much as it should be, but still we’re in great position to reel off some wins and hold on to first place, if we take care of business.

R: This isn’t your first rodeo. Your track record speaks for itself. But what keeps you still having this mindset, even when you are . . .

KT: Like you said, track record. I wouldn’t doubt myself because I’ve done too many great things to ever doubt myself. Stuff no one else has ever done. So I’m not going to worry about a slow start.

R: You guys hearing talk about offense, but you guys are at the top in offensive rating. But the defense is in the middle of the pack. Do you think that’s an area you guys need to pick up?

KT: Yeah. I think it just builds with intensity. When we’re playing with something to lose, we’re almost unbeatable. And it hasn’t felt like that consistently this year. But now, with a few bad losses, especially at home, we’ll come out and just play hard and play with great focus and intensity because there’s teams that are gunning for us.

R: Is it hard to bring top-notch defense all 82 games?

KT: Yeah, in any sport. It’s not just basketball. It’s baseball, football, hockey. We play so many games that it’s almost impossible to bring amazing energy every night. But you can do it 90 percent of the time, rather than 100 and still be great.

R: For tonight’s game, what have you come to know about Damian Lillard’s tendencies from all the times you’ve seen him?

KT: He’s aggressive from the jump. He can shoot it from anywhere. He can get to the rim. He’s a great playmaker, so it’s going to take a team effort to slow him down. He’s obviously one of the best talents in the NBA, especially scoring the ball.

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