Before Mychal Mulder's freshman season at Catholic Central High School, he waited as upperclassmen picked through jerseys with desirable numbers. One of the last players to choose, he found a number that would connect him with a future teammate.
"I was like, 'OK this is kind of cool, Klay Thompson, number 11,'" Mulder told the Runnin' Plays Podcast. "I always joked if I ever get a chance, I'd fight him for that number 11."
Now a member of the Warriors, Mulder is reconciling playing alongside Thompson and Steph Curry while taking advantage of watching their games up close.
"Yeah, I studied countless hours of both those guys," he said. "Being a shooter myself, I was really studying the way those guys get open, setting screens for each other, the way that they're constantly moving."
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Mulder's connection to the Thompsons makes sense. His father, Randy, a huge Lakers fan, named his baby boy Mychal after Klay's father, who played four seasons in Los Angeles, bringing his career full circle.
"If you go to my house, there's all types of Lakers gear, guy has hundreds of hats and coats," Mulder said. "He's got all the old VHS from the games from the '80s. Just growing up, I was a Lakers fan, I was born into basketball and his love for basketball came out in me, and he instilled a lot of things in me that I'm fortunate to have."
Mulder, 25, played in six games with the Warriors, averaging 11 points per game, including an 18-point performance against the Philadelphia 76ers. Along the way, he was among the team's leaders in plus-minus (plus-33) and shot 30.8 percent from 3-point range, using everything Thompson and Curry taught him from afar.
"That's a job I always wanted. Klay, in particular, I studied him a lot, the way he moves without the basketball and gets in position to get open," Mulder said. "I had studied tons and tons of hours on that and tried to add that to my game as well."
"I'm super excited to be in the locker room with those guys, to be able to grow. I feel like they'll help me grow tremendously during my time with them."