The Golden State Warriors are off to a rocky start to their 2022-23 campaign. They are 2-2 on the season, and their most recent loss was a near-30-point loss to the Phoenix Suns. And to make matters worse, Klay Thompson was ejected from the contest.
However, perhaps the most disappointing part of their season thus far has been their lackluster defense. Through their first four games, Golden State’s defense ranks 22nd in the NBA with a defensive rating of 117.0. They’ve allowed 120.3 points per game (the fourth-worst mark in the league).
And while players like Stephen Curry and Andrew Wiggins have played well so far, Thompson has struggled. However, according to head coach Steve Kerr, he’s still trying to get his legs underneath him, as he didn’t play much over the summer.
“It’s been a slow start to [Thompson’s] season, some of which is based on the fact that he couldn’t play, other than one exhibition game,” Kerr said on KNBR’s Tolbert & Copes. “He didn’t scrimmage the first couple weeks of camp. He’s really just getting his legs underneath him.”
So far this season, Thompson has appeared in all four games and played 22.2 minutes per contest. He’s put up 11.0 points, 2.5 rebounds, and 2.8 assists on 35.6% shooting from the field and 28.6% shooting from behind the three-point line.
Needless to say, he hasn’t performed up to par.
Thompson Always Starts Slow
Kerr also mentioned that this isn’t anything new for Thompson. It’s been a while since he’s been able to open a season on the court, but back before his injuries, he used to start slow. The head coach noted that Thompson needs to remember that and continue to fight through it.
“He has traditionally started slow with his shooting,” Kerr said. “He always forgets that this happened before he was injured, too. I don’t think this has anything to do with the injury. He’s always been a little bit of a slow starter.”
The last time Thompson was healthy at the start of a season was ahead of the 2018-19 campaign. Through the first four games of that year, he was averaging just 14.3 points on 37.3% shooting from the field and 13.6% shooting from distance. Those numbers are arguably worse than his shooting splits this season.
Slow Start Led to Ejection
Kerr believes that Thompson’s frustrations boiled over in the loss to Phoenix, leading to his ejection.
“I think he’s so competitive and he wants so badly to contribute and be himself, the guy who has won championships and been a Hall of Fame player,” Kerr said. “He wants all of that back right now. It’s not going to happen this early in the season. He needs a few more weeks of conditioning, of rhythm. In the early going, he’s frustrated. And [Tuesday] night, that frustration got the best of him.”
It’s only been four games, so Thompson has plenty of time to turn things around, and if the past is any indicator, he should be able to do just that.