Klay Thompson had a tough assignment in the Golden State Warriors season opener. The veteran wing spent the majority of his minutes guarding Kevin Durant. During the offseason, Steve Kerr discussed a potential defensive role change for Thompson. The championship-winning head coach believes his veteran wing has serious upside when guarding power forwards.
Durant is a tough litmus test. Guarding one of the greatest shooters in history is never going to be an easy task. Thompson spent six minutes and 15 seconds guarding his former teammate, holding him to 1-of-5 shooting in what totaled 26.5 partial possession. Kerr was impressed with Thompson’s defensive performance.
“Klay was great,” Kerr said. “He just did his best to make things difficult for Kevin. There’s not a whole lot you can do once he rises up and gets that release above his head. There’s not a lot you can challenge. So, you just have to try to do your work early. I thought Klay did that. Was physical with him off the ball. Tried to force him into some tougher spots. Kevin missed some that he’ll make next time. But, Klay was really solid defensively.
Thompson and Durant have some familiarity. The two stars were teammates for three seasons, winning two championships with each other. The duo have spent countless hours going head-to-head during practice sessions. Nevertheless, Thompson’s defensive efforts will be encouraging for the Warriors.
Kerr feels Klay did a "great" job in defending KD 🔒 pic.twitter.com/Qjelpcl6yx
— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) October 25, 2023
Thompson is currently in the final year of his contract. He will be an unrestricted free agent next summer. If his defensive production from opening night is an indicator of what’s to come, the Warriors will undoubtedly extend a new contract – similar to how they dealt with Draymond Green’s expiring deal last season.