OAKLAND, Calif. — Draymond Green and Klay Thompson remain confident they will break out of their recent shooting slumps and will get back to their winning ways as the Golden State Warriors head into Thursday night’s game against the Portland Trail Blazers. Green, who is shooting just 11-for-49 from 3-point range this season, says he believes it’s only a matter of time before his shots start falling as teams continue to sag off of him defensively and dare him to shoot.
“Don’t worry about my defender, my defender going to have to pay,” Green said after Thursday’s shootaround. “So whatever action I’m in, I’m going to start lighting their ass up. And that don’t just mean scoring by the way. I ain’t really been doing me. I ain’t been playmaking like I can, I ain’t been scoring when I got the opportunity, I ain’t been rebounding like I can, I ain’t been defending like I [can] — I just haven’t been myself. So I think everybody’s kind of looking at the scoring or whatnot, I don’t really look at that.”
Green was upbeat throughout his session with reporters, reminding everyone that he can have an impact on games by doing more than just scoring.
“Yeah, I got to be more aggressive on the offensive end, but I just got to be more aggressive all the way around. I haven’t really been that,” Green said. “And so everybody’s judging like, ‘Oh, he’s not shooting well.’ I think one of my best games of my career when the blowup happened at [Oklahoma City in 2016] and I had one point and 17 rebounds and 16 assists or something like that. That was like one of the best games of my career. I don’t need to score to completely annihilate a defense. I think most people are like, ‘Oh, he’s saying he’s going to shoot better.’ Shots are going to fall when they fall, but I will completely destroy defenses not shooting the ball. So I just got to be that person and when I’m that person my shots will fall, that’s how I look at it.”
Thompson spoke with a similar measure of defiance, despite a season-long slump during which he has shown only flashes of his All-Star self. A career 41.6 percent shooter from long range, Thompson is shooting just 33.7 from beyond the arc this season. Had it not been for a record-setting performance in Chicago on Oct. 29 when he knocked down an NBA record 14 3-pointers in a victory over the Bulls, the numbers would be even lower. Still, Thompson says he doesn’t believe he’s in a funk he can’t get out of.
“I don’t think it’s a shooting slump,” he said. “I really don’t.”
Thompson noted he’s not paying a lot of attention to all the voices offering advice on how to break out of his current skid.
“What is someone going to tell me about my jump shot that I can’t feel?” Thompson said. “At this point, unless it’s Reggie Miller or Ray Allen I don’t know who I’m supposed to listen to. Larry Bird? Steve Kerr? I always listen to Steve. Steve shot 45 percent. Other than that, I’ve done this job for a long enough time. I know what I need to do.”
Kerr said that Thompson’s shot is hardly a concern, and he doesn’t see what advice he can offer.
“I think he just threw me in there because I’m his coach,” Kerr said with a smile. “He knew I’d see the quote. But I always compare Klay — if you’re a golfer, you know golf, Klay is ‘Iron Byron.’ He’s that mechanical golf swing that simulates the exact same swing over and over every time.
“I’ve never seen a more technically sound shot than Klay Thompson’s. It’s spectacular. But there’s a human element to all of this which can enter into the equation through fatigue, through whatever, and I’ve never met a basketball player who didn’t encounter streaks, bad spells, whatever. It doesn’t matter who you’re talking about, Reggie Miller, Ray Allen, Steve Nash, Larry Bird. So that’s just part of sports at the highest level and the key is how you get out of it. I’m very confident that Klay will get out of it. And it doesn’t require any technical tweaking to his shot. I think it’s more just a rhythm and a flow and a feel that he’s felt a million times. It’s going to come back to him.”
Green says he is feeling “amazing” both mentally and physically after missing several weeks because of a recurring toe injury.
“I can sit here and make a ton of reasons, but at the end of the day not one of them really matter,” Green said. “It’s about playing better. We’re blessed to play this game for a living. It’s my job to play better. It’s my obligation to this team to play better. It’s my obligation to myself to play better. No reason really matters. What matters is what’s to come.”
Thompson echoed similar sentiments regarding his mindset.
“I would rather have it fall come playoff time than in December,” Thompson said of his shot. “Just because I had a few bad games in a row I’m not going to worry about not shooting the ball well. I’m one of the best shooters to ever play. I don’t really care what people say.”