The Numbers Behind Klay Thompson's One-of-a-Kind, Historical Performance
It happened, everyone. It took 20 games, but it finally happened.
Klay Thompson went off last night! He scored 60 points by hitting 21 of 33 shots from the field, including 8 of 14 from beyond the arc and 10 of 11 from the free-throw line.
It was impossible to cool him off.
Nonetheless, these "Klay nights" are something we've become accustomed to as NBA fans. To start off the 2013-14 season, Klay scored 38 points on a spectacular 15 of 19 shooting. Little did we know that would be a sign of things to come, as he posted four more games of 30-plus points that year.
Then, he kicked it up a gear in 2014-15, scoring 30-plus points on eight different occasions. The most memorable of the eight was his 52-point performance against the Sacramento Kings, in which Thompson set an NBA record with 37 points in a quarter.
A season ago, Thompson took that to a whole new level, with 17 such games and four of at least 40 points. But, this Klay Thompson was a different beast entirely.
Not Just Another Game
Thompson inserted himself into the top scoring games of all-time on Monday, becoming the 19th player since 1963 to rack up at least 60 points in a contest. It's the 33rd such performance in that same time span. However, unlike the 32 other instances -- with the Warriors up 116-83 after three quarters -- Klay accomplished this feat in just 29 minutes.
That makes him the first player in the shot-clock era to manage 60 without playing at least 30 minutes.
Thompson's 2.07 points per minute is ridiculous, and it becomes even more ridiculous when comparing it to Wilt Chamberlain's 2.08 points per minute in his historic 100-point game back in 1962. How was he that efficient?
It's hard -- really hard -- to carry out a 60-point game with high efficiency and high volume. But, even on a usage of 49.4% -- 20% higher than teammate Kevin Durant -- when you're as great a shooter as Klay, it's a little more attainable.
This elite shooting amounted to a true shooting percentage of 79.3%, which is nearly 20 percentage points higher than his season average.
This success was a product of Thompson's willingness to do his damage both outside and inside the three-point line.
It's pretty interesting that Thompson hit the wide majority of his perimeter shots from the left side of the court, while doing most of his inside scoring from the right side of the floor. It's also crazy to think his longest made field goal was a pull-up jumper from 26-feet, while his shortest was a layup off a back-cut (according to NBA.com/Stats).
Minimum Effort, Maximum Result
He did a great job at balancing his scoring, but that was made easy by his teammates, who repeatedly put him in positions to convert with ease. So much so that only one of Thompson's 21 field goals went unassisted.
Klay's ability to feed off great passes allowed him to expend a lot less energy than 60-point scorers in the past.
Klay dribbled 11 times on his 21 field goals. ELEVEN. Had ball for 1.5 seconds per touch in the frontcourt. https://t.co/zznglgOEDm
— Tom Haberstroh (@tomhaberstroh) December 6, 2016
According to @WindhorstESPN, Klay Thompson had the ball in his hands for 90 total seconds last night. 46 touches. 60 points. Unreal.
— Kevin Negandhi (@KNegandhiESPN) December 6, 2016
This isn't to suggest Thompson didn't have to work off-the-ball, because I'm sure Monta Ellis and company are seeing three #11's today. It does, however, suggest the Warriors are that good and at any time, one of their three big scorers can erupt for a huge 30-, 40-, or even 50-plus point game.
Going forward, we're probably in store for a hot streak from Thompson, and if he gets back to last year's form, look out! The Warriors are about to reach their peak and quite possibly ruin the NBA as we all suspected at the start of the season.