Nick FriedellESPN Staff WriterClose
- Nick Friedell is the Chicago Bulls beat reporter for ESPN Chicago. Friedell is a graduate of the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University and joined ESPNChicago.com for its launch in April 2009.
Thompson set an NBA record by knocking down 14 3-pointers in scoring 52 points in an Oct. 29 victory over the Chicago Bulls, but aside from that game, the sharpshooting swingman has struggled to find his rhythm this season. He was just 2-for-7 from the field in Tuesday night’s 127-101 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers and came into the game shooting just 33.7 percent from beyond the 3-point arc.
“I think it will turn around. I know it will turn around,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “This game is funny, life’s funny. Things go on, things happen. And you just have to find your way out of the woods. Our job as a staff is to help our team do that when we’re in a rut, and it’s to help individual players as well. As I said, I have no doubt that Klay will find his way, but he’s in a rut right now. I think that’s obvious. But it’ll get better.”
The reality for Thompson is that things haven’t gotten much better all season. The eighth-year veteran came into the game shooting just 44.1 percent from the field, several percentage points lower than at any point in the past four seasons. The big key is that Thompson is missing open looks. He came into the game shooting just 39 percent on uncontested looks from 3-point range, compared to 52 percent on uncontested looks from the same distance last season.
Thompson took only a handful of questions from reporters following Tuesday’s loss, but his point was simple.
“It’s a long season,” he said.
For their part, his teammates took blame for their own mistakes as they try to help Thompson out of his personal funk.
“I can be better,” Warriors power forward Draymond Green said. “If I’ll be better, it will help open him up more. So I just got to be better; it will help him get better shots, he’ll get better looks, get more looks. I just got to be better.”
That point was also hammered home by Warriors All-Star guard Stephen Curry. He said he believes Thompson’s time is coming soon and will help this Warriors group stay on a winning track.
“Just stay in his ear,” Curry said. “We all can play better. It’s not just Klay, we all can play better. We all could be more decisive about what we’re trying to do, how we’re trying to get him shots. How we’re trying to get the ball moving, all that type of stuff on offense. It’ll get better; obviously it’s a tough night in front of a national stage, a lot of hype, playing the Lakers.
“We were looking forward to this opportunity to get out there and play a lot better and just laid an egg, so you can feel terrible about it leaving the arena. You got to understand it’s December, we’re in a decent spot. We got to get better, though. We’re not going to win a championship playing like we did tonight.”