Golden State Warriors: Why Klay Thompson's new role could prolong his career

Klay Thompson's new role with the Golden State Warriors could prolong his career.

Klay Thompson embracing role as the Warriors 6th Man.
Klay Thompson embracing role as the Warriors 6th Man. / Lachlan Cunningham/GettyImages

Exploring why Klay Thompson's new role with the Golden State Warriors could prolong his career.

The All-Time greats always seem to find a way to fight through adversity at some point in their career. From tough breaks with injuries, stretches of poor performances and inconsistency, or Father Time just finally catching up, we have seen some great players become victims of these things.

I can vividly remember how Kobe Bryant struggled through the injuries he endured late in his career and how it affected him. I also reflect on Chris Paul's career and how injuries have robbed him of numerous chances to win a championship. Also reflecting on how two former MVPs (Russell Westbrook and James Harden) went from leading their respective teams to having to accept smaller roles on other teams.

At the end of the day, there is nothing for these players to be ashamed of. As a matter of fact, they are actually in a better situation because of it and have prolonged their careers. All great players will eventually deal with adversity. But what often defines a player's career is how they dealt with that adversity and how they were able to persevere. And now we are watching a similar scenario with Warriors guard Klay Thompson, but we explore three reasons why his new role with the team could prolong his career.

An unusual slow start for Klay Thompson

As we have all seen, Klay Thompson has had a slow to the season and at times has been benched by head coach Steve Kerr in the final minutes of games. That had to be mentally tough for a future Hall of Famer especially considering the amount of spectacular clutch moments Thompson has provided the Warriors throughout the years. His recent performance against the Utah Jazz sums it all up as Thompson dropped 35 points off the bench.

We all know what Thompson is capable of as he can catch fire at any given moment of any game. He will go down as one of the greatest shooters in NBA history and the one thing I noticed about the players who were blessed to play into their late 30s (with the exception of Shaquille O'Neal) was that they either were already terrific shooters or they developed a stepback, fadeaway, floater or some other move in order to still be effective once their athleticism and physical gifts begin to diminish.

Finding a new direction for success

What Thompson has ultimately done is create an avenue for himself to extend his career. He is now in the twilight of his career, and instead of allowing his pride and his ego to get the best of him, he gladly accepts this new role as it could also result in saving the Warriors' season if the wins begin to add up as a result. With Thompson coming off the bench, he will be matched up against opposing teams 2nd units.

Let's not be delusional and act like Thompson isn't still an all-star caliber talent and he is still an elite scorer despite his scoring average decreasing ever so slightly from his previous seasons. Thompson appears to be comfortable in his new role as the Warriors 6th man. The move will also allow younger players like Jonathan Kuminga, Brandon Podziemski, and Lester Quinones to get more playing time and experience.

Unselfishness and sacrifice

Klay Thompson spoke about the moment when he found out he would be coming off the bench during the postgame press conference after the victory against the Jazz.

""Found out this morning. Me and Steve had a good talk about it. You can either do two things...You can pout or you can go out and respond and I thought I did the latter very well. More importantly, I realize I'm going to play a ton of minutes and you've just got to let the ego go when you think of coming off the bench". "

Klay Thompson

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Thompson also mentioned San Antonio Spurs great Manu Ginobili and how he sacrificed and was able to thrive in a similar situation. Ginobili is the model of what the ultimate unselfish player is and this change may be exactly what could spark this team. After overcoming two career-threatening injuries, battling through stretches of inconsistency, and becoming the subject of trade rumors, Thompson has overcome his adversities and has found a way new way to add value to his team through unselfishness and sacrifice.