Klay Thompson Q&A: Warriors' start, toughest matchup, Kerr and more
The Golden State Warriors are off to an NBA-best 15–0 start with Klay Thompson leading the way along with the other half of the Splash Bros. duo, Stephen Curry. SI's Rohan Nadkarni recently caught up with Thompson to talk about everything from head coach Steve Kerr's state of mind to his toughest defensive matchup in the league and much more.
Rohan Nadkarni: Is there any way to slow you guys down? It seems a little unfair right now.
Klay Thompson: I want to tell you no, but especially in the Western Conference, we’ll face some adversity. It’s just great to rack up so many wins early in the season, because it will pay big dividends once March and April come around.
RN: Is Steve Kerr getting nervous with how well you guys are playing without him?
KT: The joke in our locker room is Luke might take his job. But coach Kerr is probably the happiest Luke is succeeding. It feels great to make Luke look good. You wouldn’t be able to tell he’s a first-year coach. The way he handles our rotations, our substitutions. He’s composed out there, he’s never rattled.
RN: How much time does Kerr spend with the team?
KT: He’s not as absent as people think. He’s there at halftime. He gives us advice every time we come to the locker room. Every practice. Obviously we aren’t the same team without him. But we’re doing our best to make his comeback as smooth as possible. He’s still giving us advice, still telling us what needs to be done. He’s also letting Luke do his thing.
RN: How do you keep your body prepared to play at such a fast pace for so many games?
KT: You have to come into camp in good shape. It’s hard to be in game shape right away. In the off-season I try to do a little swimming. Do a lot of activities besides basketball just to keep my mind right. Tennis, golf, swim. I try to be outdoors because I’ll be in the gym for the next seven or eight months.
RN: What about nutrition-wise?
KT: Man, I learned how important nutrition is, from guys like Andre Igoudala. I partnered with BodyArmor, there was a mutual interest there. I saw how many great people were already partnered with it. The fact that it tastes delicious is just a bonus.
RN: You guys aren’t just winning—you’re dominating. How is it that you seem even better this year?
KT: We got the feeling of winning last year and know how special this group can be. We want to get off to a great start. That’s how we were so successful last year, we got a bunch of wins early. We want to rack up as many wins now because you never know what’s going to happen in the second half. We will definitely face some adversity but we can save ourselves some stress by going on a run now.
RN: What’s your mindset when you’re on the court against the Clippers?
KT: You have to try to play mistake-free basketball because they’ll make you pay. They don’t beat themselves. It’s always fun to play them.
RN: Who do you consider your toughest defensive matchup in the league?
KT: It’s always fun going against James Harden. It’s fun going against him because you can never relax when he has the ball in his hands. That would be my toughest matchup. He’s the quintessential, or best two-guard right now. I always love measuring myself against him.
RN: How do keep yourself focused on the regular season grind when you know you’ll be judged by the playoffs?
KT: All you need to know for motivation is "home court." You want that throughout the playoffs. That’s how we were so successful last year, because we were able to get that. We want that again this year, to be the best team in the regular season, because those habits carry over to the playoffs.