NBA Finals 2022: Despite winning the second game against the Celtics, the Warriors need more than Clay Thompson

NBA Finals 2022: Despite winning the second game against the Celtics, the Warriors need more than Clay Thompson

Everything that is written about the Golden State Warriors guard, Clay Thompson, in relation to these NBA Finals, must be stated by saying that the fact that he is still out on the floor is impressive and inspiring.

Thompson missed two whole seasons thanks to a couple of serious injuries to his lower body and worked tirelessly to get back on the floor. There were those who wondered if he would ever return in full, and there were those who wondered if the trio of Warriors, Thompson, Draymond Green and Steph Curry would ever return to the Finals after a few seasons.

Both happened, and they are both worthy of recognition, even celebration. But, with that said, the Warriors will simply need more than Thompson – also known as the second “Splash Brother” – to move forward if they are to raise their fourth banner under Steve Kerr.

To say that Thompson was cold in the first two games of the Finals would be derogatory. In the 69 minutes he played during those two games, Thompson connected in just 10 of his 33 shots from the floor (including four of 19 in Game 2) and scored just four of his 15 long-range attempts. . He recorded just 26 points in total, five rebounds and four assists. Thompson was largely non-factor in both games. Despite Thompson’s fights, the Warriors won Game 2 on Sunday night, 107-88, after losing Game 1.

Now, Thompson’s missed shots are different from many other players who miss shots, because his absolute presence off the field attracts defensive attention thanks to the reputation he has gained for himself during his career. So, even when he does not shoot, he helps to create open opportunities for his teammates, as he did here:

Thompson is not directly involved in the project, but also removes Jaylen Brown from the action. Brown does not want to leave Thompson open and this in turn opens a lane for Curry coming out of the dribble. Such a value does not necessarily appear on the statistics sheet, but Thompson brings it to the sticks. He is even more valuable to the Warriors, however, when he shoots high-shot – as he did in the close-up Golden State games against the Dallas Mavericks (32 points on 12 of 25 shots) and the Memphis Grizzlies (30 points later). 11 out of 22 shots).

So how can Thompson get back to that? Maybe slowing things down a bit. It seems that he has pressed so lightly in the Finals, so far. He almost seems to be so eager to shoot the big shots that we are all used to seeing him hit, which at times forces things. He also seems to let frustration get in the way, as he could see him clapping his hands together and shaking his head as mistakes began to pile up on Sunday night.

The Boston defense certainly deserves some praise for Thompson’s fights in the series so far. They were not the best defensive team in the league during the regular season for no reason, after all, and they have done a commendable job in limiting his appearance. However, if you go back and see Thompson’s failures from Game 2, you will see a lot of powerful shots – especially for Thompson. Like this:

That too:

These are shots we have seen Thompson tear down countless times during his career. So it is clear that he is capable. While it may be a little simplistic to say that he just needs to do a better job of transforming his efforts, there is at least some truth to that. After all, the NBA is not called a “make or miss league” for nothing.

When Thompson shoots, the Warriors are extremely difficult to overthrow. When they are not, well, they are still not easy to defeat, but they become more vulnerable. Aside from the fact that Thompson is just settling in and finding rhythm, it is also obvious that coach Kerr must continue to put him in a position to succeed. In Game 3, he may even consider running a few more straight sets for Thompson to try to help him.

It’s particularly important for Thompson to shoot in order to maximize his value to the Warriors at this time, as he has not yet returned to form as the dominant defender he once was. Maybe he will do it again, but it is one step slower than in the past now, and this step leads him from being a perimeter lockdown defender to just above average. The Warriors even chose to put him in charge of the Boston giants, such as Al Horford, in some occupations, as opposed to developing him into perimeter threats such as Jalen Brown. In the past, if Thompson did not make his shots, he could make up for it defensively, but that is not the case at the moment.

Again, this is not meant to be a blow to Thompson, but the facts can not be ignored. He just has to be better than he was in Games 1 and 2. He would recognize that. Playing alongside the game’s best shooter at Curry, opportunities will always be there for Thompson, it’s up to him to seize. His ability to do that could help a lot in determining the team that will finally be able to lift the Larry O’Brien trophy this season.

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