This driving layup illustrates Klay Thompson’s improvement
The Warriors’ guard has added enough trickery to his game to improve his ball-handling.
Klay Thompson is never going to be as good a dribbler as he is a shooter, but he had to improve his weakness for the Warriors to justify not trading him for Kevin Love. You generally don’t see massive transformations in NBA players once they enter the league; instead, it’s subtle improvements that push someone to the next level. This specific play in Saturday’s win over the Bulls shows Thompson’s subtle improvement.
The Warriors are running some sort of weave play in an attempt to get Thompson on the move going to his strong right hand. The Bulls smartly snuff this out, though, with Jimmy Butler anticipating the dribble and cutting off Thompson’s drive. Chicago aligns the rest of its defense appropriately, making it seem like Thompson’s only move is to go back to his left.
In previous years, Thompson would go left as the Bulls wanted. This time, though, he gave the Bulls a subtle spin move, causing Butler to jump back the wrong way and leading him right into Andrew Bogut’s crushing screen.
The Bulls’ defense isn’t prepared for this, so Gasol must lunge too far in too short a period of time. That leads to Part 2 of Thompson’s development: the vicious hesitation move that freezes Pau and opens up the lane for a layup.
Again: the Warriors don’t need Thompson to be an elite playmaker. They just need him to be capable of occasionally making plays like these.