NBA Rumors: Is Klay Thompson Struggling Because Of Kevin Durant?

NBA rumors about Klay Thompson’s early-season struggles have been addressed. Kevin Durant signed with the Golden State Warriors as a free agent during the NBA offseason, raising some questions about how the team would do with Durant and Thompson on the court at the same time. A report by FOX Sports addresses that very question, with Thompson weighing in on how he feels things are progressing with the new-look Warriors.

“I struggled last year for the first 20 games and Kevin wasn’t here. So it has nothing to do with Kevin. So last year I struggled, then I went on a tear, so it’s just like any other season. Obviously we have different players, but I’m still getting the shots I always got before he was here, so it’s not on Kevin at all.”

Through the first six games of the 2016-17 NBA season, Klay Thompson averaged 15.8 points per game on just 38.4 percent shooting from the field. Thompson has been even worse from three-point range, making just 19.6 percent of his shots from long range. He is also attempting 7.7 three-pointers per game, making it an extremely inefficient shot for the Golden State Warriors this season.

Klay Thompson Against Pelicans
[Image by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images]

So did Klay Thompson start out the 2015-16 NBA season as cold as he has stated? In the first six games of that year, Thompson averaged 14.5 points per game on 44 percent shooting from the field and 36 percent shooting from three-point range. Those aren’t his best numbers, but he was also playing far fewer minutes as the Golden State Warriors were routinely blowing out teams on the way to a 6-0 record.

Playing against the New Orleans Pelicans on Monday night (Nov. 7), Klay Thompson might have quieted some of the recent NBA rumors. In 38 minutes of action, Thompson was 11-of-20 from the field, going 2-of-7 from three-point range. He finished with a quiet 24 points that were very valuable from the shooting guard position.

While Thompson was having his best game of the NBA season, Stephen Curry was once again stealing the spotlight. Curry set a new NBA record by hitting 13 three-pointers on his way to 46 points on the night. Curry did it all on an efficient 26 shots, showing that he can clearly be the leading scorer of a team that even has Kevin Durant on it now.

As for Klay Thompson, this game also showed that he can find some rhythm against a terrible team (New Orleans is 0-7), but he will need to find more consistency this season for the NBA rumors to quiet down. It had become so bad early on Monday that there were various trade rumors floating around the league. While most teams would love to acquire a player like Thompson, the Warriors wouldn’t be as good with fewer weapons on offense.

Through his first seven games with the Golden State Warriors, Kevin Durant has been putting up some very impressive statistics. On 35.4 minutes a night, Durant is averaging 28.9 points, 7.3 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 2.1 steals, and 1.3 blocks per game. Durant is also shooting 57.6 percent from the field and 40.6 percent from three-point range. Not only is he seeing more open shots than he did with the Oklahoma City Thunder, Durant is making them at a much higher percentage.

Klay Thompson Against Suns
[Image by Christian Petersen/Getty Images]

So what does the continued success of Kevin Durant mean for Klay Thompson? The easy answer is that Thompson is going to see diminished numbers on his stat sheet. That was always going to be the case when he slipped from the second option to the third option and many fantasy basketball owners already felt it was going to happen. Thompson has been saying all the right things since the Golden State Warriors signed Durant, possibly relegating all the NBA rumors about a lack of chemistry to the back page, as long as the team keeps winning

[Featured Image by Christian Petersen/Getty Images]