"He's a very accomplished shooter" - When Jerry West revealed the difference between him and Klay Thompson

klay-thompson-jerry-west

After the Golden State Warriors won their first NBA championship in 2015, Jerry West acknowledged that he and Klay Thompson have identical scoring abilities. However, despite recognizing their similarities, "The Logo" highlighted some areas where they differed.

West emphasized the importance of footwork in basketball, describing it as a foundational skill every scorer like Klay should have in their bag. The NBA legend also praised the Warriors guard for his shooting prowess but encouraged him to work on tactics that would enable him to outsmart and outplay his matchups. Furthermore, West thinks Thompson should learn how to utilize the charity stripe.

"The difference in the way we play—he's a very accomplished shooter, but he needs to get to the free throw line more," West told ESPN of Thompson in 2015. "That's, to me, is one of the things I talk to him about, getting better footwork, so your feet are not all over the place. If you don't have good footwork, you're not going to get in there to do that."

"Then also to finish over people, how to get your body in position so people are not going to bother you," he continued. "You're going to make them foul you. And he's got a lot of room to improve. And that's where he needs to get better, and he knows it. And he's a diligent worker."

Jerry admired Klay's mentality

Like any other NBA newcomer, Thompson also had to find his area of expertise on the court. He was fortunate to be drafted by the Warriors as he later benefitted from West's mentorship.

As a Warriors executive, Jerry helped ensure the team's on-court approach centered around the key players' best attributes. In Thompson's case, West figured out early on that Klay finds more scoring opportunities with increased and constant ball movement.

"No one knew that but I just thought experience—you learn from experience; you learn from playing against people," West explained. "You learn from making a catalog in your head of players, how people play you, what you can do better."

Knowing West's arduous journey to his first and only NBA championship, it's no surprise that he holds a deep respect for players who show unwavering commitment to performing at their best and improving their skills. According to "The Logo," Thompson has had those traits in his DNA.

West said that Klay has exhibited exceptional talent and a relentless drive to become the best version of himself. Just by watching Thompson's demeanor in the face of adversity, the NBA legend could tell that he is already a great player, but his mentality as a player could catapult him to even greater heights.

"You see him: He'll get irritated, and he'll slap the ball or something, shrug because he knows he did the wrong thing. And that's how you know the player's going to get better. Because they're thinking the game, they're playing a game at a little bit different level," the Los Angeles Lakers legend said.

A perfect fit for Steph

West also valued the camaraderie and trust between Thompson and Steph Curry, as he was well aware of the importance of teamwork and cohesion in achieving success in the NBA. In fact, Jerry believed in the Dubs' backcourt duo's potential so much that he disapproved of the idea of trading Klay for Kevin Love in 2015.

In West's view, the unique chemistry and complementary skills that Thompson brings to the court when playing alongside Curry were impeccable. That said, Jerry has always been convinced that Klay fits Curry's style of play like a glove.

Moreover, "The Logo" was also certain that no other high-level player could complement Steph's overall qualities the way Thompson did.

"To me, the perfect player—and he wasn't as far along in his career when this trade had been talked about—the perfect player for Steph was Klay. He never seeks the spotlight. He just plays the game. And he has gotten better and better, and frankly, he's one of the most underrated players in the league who gets not as much love as he should get," West once said.

Klay needs to bounce back stronger

West parted ways with the Warriors in 2017, but he is remembered for playing a pivotal role in Golden State's championship runs. He was also right about his take on Klay as the All-Star shooting guard proved to be a cornerstone player for the Dubs.

However, Thompson is currently struggling to find his mojo back. He finished the past season averaging 17.9 points per game, his lowest production since 2013. While some doubt if Klay could still bounce back stronger next season, West probably thinks the complete opposite as he knows he and Thompson both possess that eagerness to rise above the most difficult challenges.

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