Warriors star Klay Thompson Feb 15, 2024; Salt Lake City, Utah, USA; Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson (11) warms up before the game against the Utah Jazz at Delta Center. Mandatory Credit: Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports

The Golden State Warriors made a shocking decision ahead of Thursday’s game against the Utah Jazz, benching five-time All-Star Klay Thompson. Surprisingly, this move appears to have paid off in a big way not only for the Warriors, but for Thompson as well.

Thompson came off of the bench in 37 games during his rookie season with the Warriors but since then has started every game he’s played and had an integral role on four NBA championship teams for Golden State.

This season, Thompson has looked like a shell of the former All-NBA player he used to be, averaging career lows in field goal percentage and three-point percentage. Thompson’s struggles have led to rookie guard Brandin Podziemski receiving more minutes as of late at his expense.

Podziemski ultimately received the start on Thursday over Thompson, which would lead most to assume that Thompson’s role would be reduced off the bench.

Instead, Thompson responded to the benching with his best game of the season, scoring a team-high 35 points while shooting 13 of 22 from the field and 7 of 13 on three-point attempts.

It’s obviously unclear whether Thompson took his benching the heart or just came out in this game hot. But Warriors fans are certainly enjoying the look of the new Klay Thompson off the bench.

Not only was Thompson’s performance huge for his confidence going into the All-Star break, it is a great boost to a bench that has not had that kind of production in quite some time.

You have to go all the way back to 2017 to find the last time a Warriors bench player scored 35 points, which was done by Ian Clark.

Thompson may be able to regain his starting role at some point this season. But for the time being, it sure seems like the Warriors have one of the best bench players in the league on their hands as long as Thompson can keep this kind of play up.

[NBA on Twitter/X]

About Reice Shipley

Reice Shipley is a staff writer for Comeback Media that graduated from Ithaca College with a degree in Sports Media. He previously worked at Barrett Sports Media and is a fan of all things Syracuse sports.