Klay Thompson made a critical mistake during the offseason prep, says Stephen A. Smith

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The names of Stephen A. that slashed Klay’s critical off-season ‘mistake’ originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

Stephen A. Smith still believes in Klay Thompson.

But that doesn’t mean the ESPN analyst and “First Take” host won’t call the Warriors star’s current slump as he sees it.

Smith stopped by 95.7 The Game’s “Steiny and Guru” show on Thursday, where he shared the glaring gap he noticed in Thompson’s preparation for the 2022-23 NBA season and how it compares to that of the other Splash Brother, Stephen Curry.

“I’m going to tell you what I think the problem is,” Smith said. “I think there was a mistake in his off-season regime. When he talked about barely touching a basketball and barely working out and trying to get healthy, I think that was a mistake.

Thompson has posted low career shooting numbers so far this season after returning from consecutive lower leg injuries in January and helping Golden State clinch its fourth NBA championship in eight years.

The 32-year-old enjoyed an unforgettable summer off the court, but he revealed that a “mental block” kept him from playing much off-season basketball.

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“I didn’t play much this summer. It was tough,” Thompson told reporters in early October before the Warriors’ second preseason game in Japan. It was really hard for me to get out of there, it was just tough mentally.”

Despite Thompson’s honesty about his mental battle, which he said he will endure “one day”, Smith believes the sharpshooter’s offseason break contributes to his performance in the Warriors’ 15 games.

“You must be bummed,” Smith said. “You have to go out, you have to run up and down the field. I don’t give a damn if it’s just you alone and someone sticks a broomstick in front of your face, or rather a broom. You need to go out and work on your game. You don’t take days off.

“There’s a difference between being ready and staying ready.”

A perfect example of that is Curry, Smith said, whose work ethic has been called a “metronome” by Warriors coach Steve Kerr. The 34-year-old took just three weeks off after winning the 2022 NBA Finals, then was back in the gym.

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“People either forget about this about Steph, or they let him fool them,” Smith said. “They see him perform in public, and he’s the ‘Baby-Faced Assassin,’ and he plays golf and he laughs about it, has a good time, and he has his wife and his beautiful children and his family and all that kind of thing that’s great.

“What they miss is that Steph Curry doesn’t stop working. He is always working. Look at this man. Does that look like a man who took time off? Does that look like a guy who didn’t train in the off-season? … No, that’s a champion who knows everyone’s coming after him and has never let his guard down.

Curry is playing arguably the best basketball of his life yet this season, averaging 32.8 points, 6.8 rebounds and 6.4 assists with a shooting percentage of 53.1 percent.

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Still, the Warriors are ranked No. 12 in the Western Conference with a 6-9 record, and Curry could use some reinforcement from the rest of his team — and fellow Splash Bro, who averages 15.1 points per game. shooting at 35.1 percent.

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But even though Smith thinks Thompson should have taken a different approach in the off-season, the analyst is confident that one of the best shooters the game has ever seen will find his shot.

“If there’s a charge, albeit accidental, that Klay Thompson deserves, it’s somewhere down the line. [of] he let his guard down,” Smith said. “…But I believe in Klay. And I’m not shredding my faith in Klay because you don’t teach him a stroke like the one he’s got. It is natural, it is God given, it is innate and part of his TBEN.

“He just needs to get back to it, plain and simple.”

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