Klay Thompson wants to make one thing clear: He will not be ceding shots or adjusting his game to accommodate new Warriors teammate Kevin Durant. Sorry, not going to happen.
He laid out his position in an interview with The Vertical.
When asked for his initial reaction to learning Durant was joining Golden State, Thompson said he was stunned. And not just because his brother had woken him up with the news.
"I didn’t believe it at first when he told me, so I had to check my phone and verify it. I was like, ‘Seriously? KD really chose us?’" he said. "It was an incredible moment for our organization, and I was psyched. We had the final form of our team. And then I went back to sleep.”
The 26-year-old shooting guard is reportedly a cool-headed, tranquil personality. The type of guy who falls back asleep after learning that his team added a megastar who does the same thing he does: take and make shots. That he would be sharing the ball with not one, but two recent NBA MVPs.
Perhaps Thompson sleeps easy at night because he buys the pitch that lured Durant in the first place: The Warriors won a championship without asking its stars to sacrifice their individual games.
And why wouldn't he buy it? Thompson, Stephen Curry and Draymond Green were all three named All-Stars last year. Each seemed to perform at their personal best with the others on the court. Nobody took anybody else's proverbial shine.
And that's not about to start now. So stop asking Thompson how many shots he'll have to give up to Durant.
“I’ve been hearing it on every stop,” he said of the question. “I feel kind of disrespected that people keep using the term sacrifice to describe me and describe [other Warriors players]."
“We all want to see each other do well. But I’m not sacrificing [expletive], because my game isn’t changing. I’m still going to try to get buckets, hit shots, come off screens. I want to win and have a fun time every game we play."
I’m not sacrificing [expletive], because my game isn’t changing. Is the Splash Brother repeating a reassuring message? Or is he firing warning shots, giving everyone advanced notice of where he stands?
Either way, there's a bold line in that sand.
He went on to say that he relishes the prospect of playing the villain. Facing animus on nightly basis should make the 82-game slog a more colorful experience.
And the Warriors will almost certainly be an offensive juggernaut. Not unlike the U.S. Olympic Men's Basketball Team, on which Thompson and Durant are already teammates. They will travel and compete alongside each other in Rio.
KD, for his part, insisted he wouldn't want Thompson to take a back seat. That's not part of the gameplan.
“We want Klay to stay Klay. We don’t want him to change," Durant said. "The games dictate where the shots come from. I may shoot 12 shots one night; Klay may shoot eight or nine shots one night, and Steph may shoot 25 shots one night. And it could be a different flow another night.”
The first-person plural indicates that Durant already considers Golden State his team. That's probably been the case everywhere he's played. Other than that presumption, he struck the right tone for an interloper.
The explanation doesn't make much sense, though. Thompson, who averaged 17.3 shots per game last year, can't have many nights of single-digit attempts without a big change. Neither can Curry or Durant.
If the trio combines for 12, 8 and 25 shots – regardless of who's taking which number – at least two players will be shooting significantly less than they used to.
Thompson doesn't plan to be one of them.