Our latest marquee guest on the TrueHoop Conversations podcast: Golden State Warriors star guard Klay Thompson.
A link to the full conversation is enclosed, as always, but here are a few highlights from our chat earlier this week:
Klay on how hard it is to score 60 points in a game in which you take only 11 dribbles:
“I know ... that’s efficiency for you. That’s actually funny, because when I go on my social media and I see some people on there like, ‘God, guy can’t even dribble and he took 11 dribbles.’ I’m like, ‘That’s all I needed to take.’ But you know what, it’s all fun.
"That was a big moment in my career, and hopefully I’ll be able to eclipse it one day. I know it’s tough, but I never thought I’d be able to outdo 37 points in a quarter, and this is kind of special in its own right. I surprised myself again, and hopefully it won’t be the last time.”
Klay on whether he’s gone back to rewatch the game on video:
“I watch it ... just to see what I did well. I was in such a good groove and, like you said, I only took 11 dribbles, and I was efficient in all of my movement. So, yeah, I watch it to see what I did well.
"A few [more] shots I could have made, but mainly to remind myself I can do great things in this league if I just play as hard as I can and bring great focus every game, and that’s the biggest challenge for a lot of athletes in this league. The 82-game schedule, it’s hard to focus every night. But the best ones do this -- they bring it -- so I just remind myself of what I could do by watching that film.”
Klay on how the Warriors are meshing as of the 25-game mark:
“I gotta give us an A-. I think we’re playing at a really high level right now. We have the best record in the NBA. [But] we expected to, just with the talent we have, and the system we run, and the amount of great players you have.
"We knew it was going to take time. Obviously, out the gate, personally I didn’t play that well. But I knew it was early in the season, so I wasn’t really worried. I knew if I went to the gym, put the time in, I was going to get back on track.
"We took a couple of losses, to San Antonio and the Lakers early in the season. But we rebounded really well, and I think we have a great record since that 4-2 start. ... I think we’re in a great position, and I can’t believe we’re already three months in. It goes by so fast, it’s unbelievable. But I think we’re right where we envisioned we’d be, with a lot of room to grow.”
Klay on why he’s so hard on himself:
“I think it’s been something that’s been in me since I was a kid. I hated to lose to my brothers; I hated to lose to my friends. I was a sore loser as a child, and I’ve greatly improved upon it since, realizing that it’s a long season in the professional ranks and you’re bound to make mistakes. It’s just going to happen. It’s 82 ball games; you’re not going to play a perfect game every night.
"I think I’ve gotten a lot better at being accepting of [the fact] I’m going to have an off night or two than I was early in my career. My first couple years in the league, I put so much pressure on myself to make shots or become an All-Star, or just be a great player right off the bat, when I didn’t realize how much time that actually took. I’m still really hard on myself because every great shooter to ever play this game, if you ask them, they’re all perfectionists.
"If you ask Steph [Curry], it’s the same thing. KD ... same thing. They’re very particular in what they do, and I think that’s what makes them great. I think I’m the same way. I think it’s good that it bothers me when I don’t play well, because it means you care. But you can let it affect your game too much. So for me, I’ve improved greatly on being able to bounce back from an off night or two.”
Klay on how seriously he took the Boston trade rumors in November:
“[Warriors coach] Steve [Kerr] and [GM] Bob [Myers] came up to me and told me it was nonsense. I don’t really try to pay too much mind, because I know how the media circuits work these days. Now is a 24-hour news cycle, so you gotta pump out some stories, and it just didn’t bother me too much.
"I knew that when you’re not playing as well as you should, there’s always going to be speculation, so I let people speculate, let the media speculate. It’s fine with us. But I was like, ‘Wow, this is early. We haven’t even played 10 games yet. Can a man get a season before these rumors start?’
"I knew the answer to that, but it didn’t bother me too much ... because it came from Scal [Brian Scalabrine]. How reliable is Scal? Let’s be honest, you know? ... I tried to find him in Boston, but I couldn’t find him. Scal was ducking me. It’s all right, though. I’ll see him in Oracle. But, yeah, it wasn’t a big deal. I mean, wishful thinking on Scal’s part, so I wasn’t too upset about it.”
Saad Yousuf of ESPN Radio in Dallas (103.3 FM) contributed to this report.