Klay Thompson had a disappointing 2022-23 season for the Golden State Warriors that fell short of his high standards, but the All-Star is dismissing the notion that it was because he did not properly prepare during that offseason.
At 32 years old at the beginning of last season, Thompson got off to a slow start following a shortened time off resulting from the Warriors 2022 NBA championship and a preseason trip to Japan.
“Thompson was forcing,” wrote Anthony Slater of The Athletic. “The Warriors were losing. They were 0-8 on the road. His shot selection was causing enough of an issue that the team had a locker room meeting on several subjects, including a frank conversation between Thompson and [Draymond] Green about dialing it back.
“There was a belief that Thompson’s lack of activity in the summer led to the slump, which added to early season struggles the Warriors never fully escaped. Is there a level of regret?”
After missing two entire seasons because of leg injuries, the sharpshooter had returned from an Achilles injury late in the 2021-22 season. He ramped up to full duty during the playoffs in helping the Warriors win their fourth championship with their core of him, Green and Stephen Curry. He then reportedly endured a mental block that kept him from playing pickup games during the subsequent summer but said he has no regrets regarding the other work he put in.
“Not at all,” Thompson said. “Not at all. I worked so hard that summer. I just didn’t play pickup. I worked really hard. I did weights. I did conditioning. I did individuals. I just didn’t play pickup, I think for good reason. Because the last time I played, it was so traumatic. I don’t regret it at all just because of the emotional toll those last two and a half years took.”
Thompson’s subpar play to start the 2022-23 campaign followed a tumultuous training camp for the Warriors during which Green punched Jordan Poole at practice, an event that head coach Steve Kerr later said affected the team for the entire season.
As the defending champs, Golden State started 3-7 and finished 44-38. Thompson managed to average 21.9 points per game in his 69 appearances, which actually was his highest scoring output since the 2016-17 campaign.
After a seven-game series victory over the Sacramento Kings in the first round highlighted by Curry’s 50-point outburst in the deciding contest, the Warriors were eliminated in the second round of the playoffs in six games by the Los Angeles Lakers. Thompson’s scoring fell off to 18.5 points per game in the playoffs, when he shot just 38.8 percent from the field.
It was the first time as defending champs during the Curry era they did not get back to the NBA Finals the next year.
The Warriors will be hard-pressed to get back there again this season in a powerful and improved Western Conference. But at least Thompson reportedly is heading into this season in better shape than last year, which should help them get off to a good start.