May. 18, 2017
Golden State Warriors: What is Klay? Baby Don't Hurt Him
by P.D. Parr
Before writing this, I reviewed the two most shining moments in Klay Thompson's career--his 37-point quarter, and his 60-in-29-minutes game...and, yes, The Night at the Roxbury.
Here they are below. As you watch, pay particular attention to how many points he gets off of backcuts and lackluster defensive rotations. Halfway through each accomplishment, it seems as if the other team has become hypnotized, or paralyzed into sullenness.
Klay has the quickest release in the game of anyone other than teammate Steph Curry. He's 6'6" and uses every inch to shoot over smaller guards who can't come off of a pick fast enough to contest. On defense, he has a wingspan to bother the likes of, say, Danny Green and J.R. Smith, but it's his shooting that pays the bills, and I have to say that Klay is the streakiest shooter I've ever watched play in the NBA. Reggie Miller, Dale Ellis, Ray Allen...no one can become as unconscious as Klay during a game.
That right there is the only requirement to be deemed a streaky shooter--the ability to lose complete consciousness in what you're doing. For extended amounts of time, you cease to think about time, pressure, women looking at you from the crowd, friends judging you, teammates wondering if you'll pass the ball, coaches concerned about your minutes, even the score...it all leaves the mind as you begin to make anything and everything.
Klay has this gift, but it's also a curse. It's equivalent to writers who believe they can only write well when drunk or high...only Klay can't pick up a six-pack of Milwaukee's Best and know that he'll shoot the lights out. He has to wait for the Basketball Gods to align the moment in such a way that this elevated state of glory enwraps his soul...and then moments like this happen:
When Klay reaches these heights, he turns everyone into children again, but moments like these are extremely rare in the playoffs—especially against teams that devote their entire tempo to creating isolated mismatches with their two top players (ahem, Kyrie and LeBron). I see Golden State skating by San Antonio. (Ed.: This was originally written before Game 2) Klay may have spasms of unconsciousness as if he's having a Night at the Roxbury, but there will always be a Cavalier ready to slow down the game, so that everyone has to think...slowly...about...each...move. And Klay will eventually snap out of it. The Spurs play with rhythm, but the Cavaliers play diabolically, and that is something Klay Thompson will never enjoy.