Rut or Regression: What's behind Klay Thompson's struggles?

Klay Thompson
Klay Thompson / Christian Petersen/GettyImages

Golden State Warriors star Klay Thompson's play has recently come under scrutiny as the Warriors have struggled to start the season. With Thompson playing for a new contract, fans were hoping that he would have added motivation to play well this season, but thus far that hasn't happened.

Instead, he has been a part of the team's struggles, averaging just 15 points while shooting only 36.7% from three and his normally friendly demeanor has reportedly changed, according to both ESPN's Kendra Andrews and the Athletic's Tim Kawakami. With Klay struggling to put the ball in the basket and wanting to prove that he's worth a big new contract, it has seemingly made him visibly irritated at times.

" Thompson's slump to start this season feels different. His contract negotiations are weighing on him, sources told ESPN, and he appears to be noticeably more frustrated during games."

Kendra Andrews

Thompson being frustrated might make him unpleasant to be around, but the Warriors are likely far more concerned with their second-best player not playing well.

Can Klay Thompson and the Warriors turn things around?

After starting the season 6-2, the Warriors looked like they were in for a bounce-back season after an up-and-down 2022–23. However, Golden State has gone 2-7 since, and Thompson's play, along with Andrew Wiggins' play, and Draymond Green's five-game suspension, has contributed to those struggles.

A lot would be solved by Thompson improving to the mean, but at age 33, there is no guarantee that he can reach last season's levels. Still, he should be better than he's shown thus far, and the Warriors are hoping that he can put his early-season struggles aside and give Steph Curry, who's been stellar, a consistent secondary option.

That simple fix could dramatically help the Warriors, who have seen new additions such as Chris Paul and Dario Saric play well but need Thompson to help boost their medoicre offense. Given his shooting ability, it's hard to imagine he won't play much better as his shot eventually starts to fall but the Warriors will likely continue to struggle until it does.