Warriors' Klay Thompson realizes practicing patience is necessary

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Klay understands the importance of practicing patience originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

Klay Thompson is asking for patience from the Warriors, coaches, teammates, as well as fans. And also himself. It might be a few weeks, maybe a month or two, or even three before he finds what he is so desperately seeking.

That would be his jump shot, the part of his game that made him famous.

“It’s rare that someone takes a two-year hiatus from playing NBA games to coming in and dominating,” Thompson said Sunday night, after scoring 13 points in a 119-99 loss to the Timberwolves in Minneapolis. “I’m going to get to that point. I just have to be patient. The last two years have taught me what patience is all about.”

Four games into his comeback after almost 31 months away from the NBA, Thompson’s most positive attribute has been his health and his spirit. There have been no obvious signs of physical decline that exceed that which comes with such a long layoff. He clearly is thrilled to be back on the court.

After being limited to roughly 20 minutes in his first three games, Thompson played 23 on Sunday. He scored 13 points, on 5-of-14 shooting, including 3-of-8 beyond the arc. He added four rebounds and two assists.

He said he felt great. He missed a few open looks, acknowledged being beaten on defense and committing the sin of failing to box out, which gave Minnesota a second-chance bucket.

“But it’s coming,” he vowed.

Thompson is shooting 35.7 percent (20-of-56) from the field, and the exact same percentage from distance (10-of-28). Most of the misses have been short, which is typical of someone coming off leg injuries.

From the line, where muscle memory is engaged, he is 5-of-5.

“It’s a new challenge for me to play within these minutes and be as efficient as I can,” Thompson said. “But it pales in comparison to what I went through the last two years. Although I’m not shooting the ball as well as I want to, I’m going to keep shooting because that’s what I’m best at.”

Shooting is how Thompson earned five NBA All-Star Game appearances. It’s how he set records for most points in a quarter (37) and most 3-pointers in a game (14). There were many reasons the Warriors gave him a max contract in the summer of 2019 – shortly after he underwent surgery to repair a torn ACL – but No. 1 on the list was his ability to make shots that demoralize opponents and invigorate teammates.

Except most of his current teammates are not familiar with that Klay. Andrew Wiggins is new to the Klay Experience, as are Jordan Poole, Jonathan Kuminga, Nemanja Bjelica, Juan Toscano-Anderson and Otto Porter Jr.

Klay and his new teammates are learning how to play with one another. It’s going to be a process and it requires adjustment.

“The level of threat that he is, that he brings to our team, is tremendous,” Poole said. “So, get him acclimated slowly. Get him easy shots. Just seeing how he can help out the offense tremendously is huge.”

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Thompson longs for the time when he can play 30-35 minutes, as he once did. But he understands it’s not his call, and that he might take another month or more. He’s more accepting of that harsh reality than he would have been before enduring severe injuries in back-to-back years.

“I’m grateful for when those minutes get ticked up,” he said. “But I’m not going to get overzealous just because I want to play more and get in a better rhythm. I’m just going to be patient and continue to play as hard as I can with the minutes I’m given.”

His health is good. His attitude is right. His shot, however, will arrive on its own time.

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