What Crawford told Klay about embracing Sixth Man role

What Crawford told Klay about embracing Sixth Man role originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

If there's anyone who knows how to succeed in a Sixth Man role, it's Jamal Crawford.

The 20-year veteran won three NBA Sixth Man of the Year Awards, tied for the most all-time with former guard Lou Williams, so Crawford is the perfect person to offer advice to Klay Thompson.

Crawford joined Warriors forward Draymond Green on the latest episode of "The Draymond Green Show," where he discussed Thompson's recent move to the bench and the narratives surrounding his new Sixth Man role.

"I actually reached out to Klay," Crawford told Green. "I reach out to people all the time, but I reached out to Klay before he came off the bench. And I'm like, because we talked about it on TV and everybody's like trying to bury Klay, I'm like he still averages 17 points. I said the fight is with himself because he's been so legendary for so long. 17 points on a great team is great. Klay's battle is that and obviously the injuries and everything."

Crawford's message to Thompson is simple and he believes the new role actually can benefit the 34-year-old and give him new life.

"But with him, I'll tell him embrace it," Crawford said. "It can give him a whole different wind. We don't see legendary players like that, Manu [Ginóbili] we talked about, but legendary, legendary guys like that who have had four-time champions averaging 17, coming off the bench. Now you're seeing second unit guys, now you're the focal point of the offense. It gets you in a rhythm. Forget the off the bench or starting, you're going to have better numbers doing this than you would as you're doing it right now.

"And you may have more fun. And that's what I told him in the message, like 'Bro have fun.' At the end of the day, have fun, enjoy this s--t, because I'm here to tell you on the other side of it now, it don't last forever. You don't want to look back with regrets ... You've earned that right. Enjoy it, embrace it and have fun."

Thompson came off the bench for the first time since his rookie 2011-2012 season in the Warriors' 140-137 win over the Utah Jazz right before the All-Star break and scored 35 points on 13-of-22 shooting from the field and 7 of 13 from 3-point range.

His barrage lifted Golden State to victory and prompted coach Steve Kerr to commit to Thompson coming off the bench for the foreseeable future.

While the new role might have been a tough pill to swallow at first, Thompson took Crawford's advice and has embraced the change in his 13th NBA season.

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