Golden State Warriors

Warriors lore: Klay Thompson ‘never flinched’ when Monta Ellis told him to stop shooting 3s

The entire NBA misses Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson. Known for being slightly aloof, affable and having a love of life uncommon for superstars, Thompson hasn’t suited up for the Warriors in two full seasons because of two consecutive, catastrophic injuries.

But he’s set to return to the Warriors in the upcoming season. And it’s about time. Until then, The Athletic compiled a list of Klay Thompson stories, told by those in the NBA that know him best. There are a bunch of good ones, and the article is a must read. I’ve plucked my favorite to share on The BASH, of course. It involves Thompson the rookie, being scolded by ex-Warriors fan favorite, G Monta Ellis.

Here’s the tale, courtesy of former Warriors assistant coach Jerry DeGregorio.

His rookie season, there was a game where Klay took too many 3s for Monta Ellis’s liking. During the next timeout, I remember Monta Ellis just ripped into this rookie: “You’re taking too many shots. Pass the ball. You’re just a rook.” That type of deal. I remember watching Klay the whole time, and he never flinched. He never wavered. The very next offensive possession, ball swings, goes to Klay. He takes the first shot and makes a 3. I’m thinking, “This kid is an ice-cold killer.”

The Athletic

Talk about old meeting new. Ellis was at his peak-diva at that time, scoring well north of 20 points per game. He was apparently blinded by his own on-court bling to see Thompson’s immense potential. Ellis was soon traded for center Andrew Bogut, and Thompson combined with G Stephen Curry to form the best shooting backcourt the NBA has ever seen. Ellis was out of the league after the 2016-17 season, despite being in his early 30s.

But this story illustrates what’s so great about Thompson. His reputation is that of a fun-loving, carefree character, and rightfully so. But as DeGregorio noticed in the huddle that game, Thompson is an assassin on the court, rivaled only by Curry from outside the arch.

We’ll see how much Thompson has left after suffering a torn ACL in the 2019 NBA Finals, followed by an Achilles tendon tear last December. But with his obvious resolve, I wouldn’t bet against him.

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