The 25-year-old Warriors guard admits he's no Steph Curry, but he still has one of the sweetest strokes in the NBA, averaging 20.1 points per game during Golden State's 31--2 start.
DAN PATRICK:How surprised are you that the Warriors are playing this well?
KLAY THOMPSON: I'm shocked. It's pretty surreal, but at the same time I knew that we were going to be great. We were set up for it with how young our core is and with our great veterans. I've never been on a team this deep. One night we were playing in Brooklyn and our starters weren't really playing that well. Then our second unit came in and ended up winning us the game by 16. So it's a real special group as far as our depth and chemistry.
DP:Anyone bring up [breaking the Bulls' single-season win record of] 73?
KT: Ooooof! Not yet. The one guy who brought up 70 was [power forward] Draymond Green. Coach [Steve] Kerr told us at the beginning of the season to shoot for 60 wins. Draymond was like, "Forget that, we're going for 70."
DP:Are you better than Steph Curry? If you are at your absolute best in a shooting contest, do you take him down?
KT: I can't say I'm better than him in any part of shooting. We do shoot together a lot. There are times when he beats me [in a game of H-O-R-S-E] four or five days in a row. There are times when I beat him a few days in a row. I've never seen someone shoot off the dribble like Steph. But catch and shoot? I'm right there with him. Off the dribble I don't have his creativity. I can handle the ball, just not at his level.
DP:When did you know you had this ability to be a great shooter?
KT: Probably around fourth grade. My dad [former NBA center Mychal Thompson] would always tell me that I had a special ability to shoot. I could knock down college level threes with ease even back then. I was fortunate to have a hoop in my backyard growing up, so I would be out there for hours just shooting. I grew up in Portland and it rained a lot, but it never fazed me to go out and play in the rain. I just love to shoot.
DP:So in fourth grade you're knocking down threes?
DP:You've seen those videos of Steph [playing one-on-one against a kid]. Were you doing what Steph was doing to those kids back in grade school?
KT: Yeah, I was. I've seen videos of him doing it to [Curry's brother, Kings guard] Seth. My big brother, Mychel was doing it to me, so I think that's why I developed my shooting skills so early. I was lucky to have a big brother. He beat up on me [on the court] until high school when I could finally compete with him.
Fox officiating analyst Mike Pereira, a former referee, is dubious about the NFL forming a committee to reexamine rules on receptions. "They're not going to change a thing," Pereira said. "This is a p.r. move to appease those who are saying the league doesn't know what a catch is." ... I asked Steelers WR Antonio Brown if his former college teammate, Texans defensive end J.J. Watt who played tight end for one season at Central Michigan, could have made it in the pros as a receiver. "I think so," Brown said. "He had that same willingness and tenacity that he has now." ... Former NFL running back Herschel Walker told me not to buy into the hype over 40-yard-dash times. "I've heard Deion [Sanders] and Bo [Jackson] say that they've run a 4.1," Walker said. "Those guys never even beat me in a race, and I've never been clocked at 4.1."
MICHAEL J. LEBRECHT II FOR SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (PATRICK)
ROCKY WIDNER/NBAE/GETTY IMAGES (THOMPSON)
KEVIN LYNCH/FOX (PEREIRA)
FRED VUICH/AP (BROWN)
ANDREW WARDLOW/NEWS HERALD/AP (WALKER)