When the Golden State Warriors drafted Klay Thompson out of Washington State University, they selected a player they knew would help them stretch the court with his shooting. In his three collegiate seasons, Thompson averaged 17.9 points per game on 42.4 percent field goal shooting, 39 percent 3-point field goal shooting and 82.7 percent free throw shooting.

Mind you, when the Warriors’ season started, some started to wonder if perhaps the 6’7 back up guard would spend the season building up a castle thanks in large part to a huge brickfest. With a condensed training camp and mere two preseason games, the shooter struggled out of the gate and often times seemed lost on the court. He rushed shots, got beat on defense and had trouble figuring out when to pass the ball and to whom.

Essentially the rookie needed to get acclimated to the speed of the NBA game and he did. If we look at his splits, it becomes rater obvious:














Klay Thompson has slowly but surely adjusted to the NBA game and has a better grasp on how to get his shots. Indeed, he is doing a much better job of using screens, adjusting his speed to set up defenders and has a much better understanding of how to space the floor even when plays aren’t called. Thompson is realizing how teams rotate on defense and thus understands which spots on the floor he needs to get to in order to get an open shot when the likes of Stephen Curry and Monta Ellis go into isolations or pick-and-rolls.

Hence, on the season the Washington State product is averaging a respectable 6.8 points per game on 44.5 percent field goal shooting and 44.2 percent 3-point field goal shooting.

Mind you, the Warriors’ back up guard still has some areas where he can improve on. Indeed, given that he is a shooter, it’s only natural for him to gravitate towards the perimeter, but it would still behoove him to mix and match areas on the court to keep defenders guessing.

Through 18 games so far this season, Klay is averaging 6.1 shot attempts per game. Have a look at his shot distribution based on areas on the court as per Hoopdata:

Shot Locations

FGA per game


At Rim



3-9 Feet



10-15 Feet



16-23 Feet







When looking at Thompson’s shot distribution, we can see that the majority of his shot attempts are mostly 3-pointers or long two-point shots. To his credit though, as of late, when defenders have closed out on him coming off screens, the rook has shown the ability to put the ball on the floor and go straight to the basket for a finish or a good setup pass.

Klay Thompson’s game has grown during the early stages of the season, hence it stands to reason that he will eventually become not only a more dynamic shooter, but he may in fact also have the required tools to be a good scorer in the league.

It’s worth noting that although the long-range bomber is not yet a world-class shooter like his teammate, he is statistically one of the best spot up shooters in the NBA. According to MySynergySports, Klay Thompson is shooting 13-for-19 in 3-point spot up opportunities, which translates to a blistering 68.4 conversion rate. For comparison’s sake, Ray Allen in the same situation has made 16-of-24 shots from 3-point range, a 66.7 percent shooting clip.

There is still a whole lot of basketball to be played for the remainder of the season, and watching Klay Thompson develop as a shooter and scorer should prove to be one of the most interesting subplots of the Warriors’ season.

Questions or comments? Feel free to leave them in the comments section or you can contact me by email at [email protected].

About The Author

J.M. Poulard is the Warriors World editor. He is also a contributor to ESPN TrueHoop sites Forum Blue and Gold (Los Angeles Lakers), Piston Powered (Detroit Pistons) and Raptors Republic (Toronto Raptors). He has a particular fondness for watching Eastern Conference ball games and enjoys the history of the sport. Feel free to reach out to him on Twitter (@ShyneIV).

Related Posts

One Response

  1. Mike

    Mind you, that two month breakdown doesn’t tell us much because the Warriors have played 14 games so far this month and only played 4 games in December. It will be more instructive, mind you, to see the breakdown between January and February, because you know, they’re full months of play. Mind you.