There was a time not so long ago when it seemed like Mark Jackson was the only one around who still believed in Klay Thompson.
Those were the days when the second-year guard felt as if he’d been abandoned by his best friend, his outside shot and the nights when it seemed like he couldn’t have found the basket with a map and a flashlight.
Warriors fans were panicking when Thompson couldn’t make half the shots he took even once through the first three weeks — 11 games — of the season. They wanted him yanked from the starting lineup or, at the very least, reined in.
But Jackson never wavered on Thompson.
“He’s a different creature,” Jackson said back then. “He’s a great shooter. He’s going to be fine. Even great shooters go through tough stretches.”
Of course, for the great shooters, those tough stretches end. Now, it would seem that Thompson has found his way out of the dark.
While it was Jarrett Jack’s pass and Draymond Green’s layup with 0.9 seconds left in the game that was the difference in Golden State’s 97-95 win at Miami on Wednesday night, it was Thompson who did much of the heavy lifting to get there.
He scored 27 points on 11-for-21 shooting and also bagged five 3-pointers to continue a roll that just happens to coincide with the Warriors’ stunning 5-0 start to their seven-game road trip. In the winning streak, Thompson has connected on 20 of his 42 shots from behind the arc and 37-for-66 from the field overall.
While much of the attention in the long-suffering franchise’s rise this season has gone to Stephen Curry making an early bid for a berth on the Western Conference All-Star team, David Lee as a double-double machine and a new team-wide commitment to defense, the Warriors are now looking more real because one guy has kept his cool and battled back from a rough start.
This is why Mark Jackson never stopped believing in Klay Thompson.