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December 21, 2017

Klay Thompson

New York, New York

Q. I don't know if you've seen Luka Doncic play, but he's a potential No. 1 pick in the 2018 NBA Draft. I want to know if you have any opinion on him? And the second question is, with almost half of the season gone, do you think that it's a goal for you and the guys to best that 73-9 record, or it doesn't really matter at all?
KLAY THOMPSON: I haven't seen Doncic play, but I know he won the EuroCup. As an 18-year-old, that's pretty incredible. And he was, I think, All-Tournament team, so for him to be that successful at 18 years old is very impressive. I haven't seen him play, but I'm sure he's going to be a great NBA player.

As far as 73 wins, it's not a huge goal of ours. If we were close, we'd obviously go for it. But it's going to be almost nearly impossible this year because we already have six losses. We'll see. I'm not going to say never, but it would be very hard.

Q. I wonder what it's like playing as a player on Christmas Day. Do you get to see your families, and how do you go about preparing for that?
KLAY THOMPSON: It's a lot of fun. It's an honor to play on Christmas Day because the NBA, if they schedule you, it means you're doing something right. There are so many families and kids watching around the country. I remember watching as a kid, and to be a part of it as an adult is a much better experience. It's just so fun doing what you love on a beautiful holiday.

Q. How hard is it to play without Steph Curry on the floor now that he's injured?
KLAY THOMPSON: Well, we obviously miss Steph incredibly. He's one of the best players in the world, so not to have him out there is unfortunate. But while he's not here, we do not make excuses for his absence. We still try to do what we do without him, and that's just play hard, play together, and win as many games as possible. We've been successful without him so far because of our depth, and we don't make excuses when some of our best players are injured. We still have fun, go out there and try to win games, but we obviously miss him dearly.

Q. I'm interested in your opinion on Joel Embiid and Giannis Antetokounmpo. Do you think these guys have the game to be the next set of African giants in the NBA?
KLAY THOMPSON: Yeah. I mean, I think they're on the verge. We have a lot of great African players in the NBA. We've had plenty of great African players in the past who have become Hall of Famers, guys like Hakeem [Olajuwon] and Dikembe Mutombo, and Giannis and Embiid are just the next generation. I know the NBA, they're setting up camps for kids and they're trying to find talent, as well as the NBA Africa Game, which is always a great exhibition. I would love to play there one day.

But yeah, as the years come, I know basketball is growing in Africa, and there's going to be more and more NBA players to come out of that great place as time goes on.

Q. I know you spoke about playing on Christmas Day, but I want to know what the difference was when you had to play in 2015 at home versus last year when you had to travel on that holiday.
KLAY THOMPSON: Well, the difference is being able to sleep in your own bed, being in the comfort of your own home compared to being in a hotel. In Cleveland, it's a lot colder than it is in California. It's more fun playing in front of your crowd, I would say. It's always fun playing on the road. Cleveland is a hostile place to play. They've got great fans. They don't like us very much. It makes it a lot of fun. But the difference is just being more comfortable in your home and with your family. Your family is here and they're there to support you and open gifts and just great vibes all day.

Q. You and the Rockets have really been neck-and-neck for the top seed so far this season, and their success has been because of their backcourt with James Harden and Chris Paul. Talk about how difficult it is to guard both of them individually and maybe pick which is the easier assignment among the two.
KLAY THOMPSON: Well, the Rockets are playing phenomenal this year. I mean, they're in first place right now, so it's unfamiliar for us to be behind them, but it pushes us to get even better. And Chris Paul and James Harden, I mean, it's one of the best if not the best backcourt in the game right now just because they're such great playmakers. They both can shoot the ball. They don't really have any weaknesses. It's always a fun matchup when me and Steph get to go against them because we can measure ourselves as players against the best. They beat us the first time [on opening night], and we're looking forward to that game in a few weeks because we owe them some revenge.

Q. What do you think, from the start of your career until now, what things have you learned from this team and this coach?
KLAY THOMPSON: The best thing I've learned about this team since my career begun? Well, just the humility the team has. We've got so much talent, guys who could be superstars for other franchises, but really all they really care about is winning. We all have healthy egos. We do all have egos, but we don't let it get in the way of what's really important, and that's winning championships. I never would have envisioned myself having two championships within six years when I started, and hopefully many more to come. But that's one thing I've learned about this team, that we have guys who put the team first and want to win on top of everything. No one is out there to get theirs or get their individual numbers. We all just want to win.

Q. Last year you signed a toaster, and the Warriors went on a great winning streak. I would like to know if you're making this a tradition, and if so, what are you going to sign this year?
KLAY THOMPSON: Oh, man, I have no idea. Hopefully something that will propel us to another championship. But it's got to be something that's different and unique. I mean, the toaster streak was pretty funny, but hopefully not another home appliance. It'll be something like a surfboard or something cool, not a toaster.

Q. I know you're playing this game against the Cavaliers in a few days. You might be playing with some of those guys in the All-Star Game with the way things have changed with picking teams this year. Are there any guys from the East you're potentially looking forward to teaming up with in the game if you potentially make the All-Star team?
KLAY THOMPSON: I think it would be cool to play with Kevin Love just because I grew up with that guy since I was 8 years old. That would be cool. We haven't played on the same team since we were kids. To play with him in the All-Star Game would be pretty special. It's always fun competing against them. Whoever else, I don't know. I've played with a lot of guys just through USA Basketball. I mean, it would be fun to play with LeBron just because I've always gone against him, and it would be cool to see him like on a teammate aspect.

But who else? I mean, I don't know. Most guys I've actually played with through Team USA. Those two on the Cavs, probably.

Q. You are the only Golden State Warriors player to play and be available for every game this season. This also has you to leading the team in three-pointers this year. Since you, Steph and KD are arguably the three best shooters in the league, do you bring that stat up, or is it something on your radar or are you even aware of it?
KLAY THOMPSON: Honestly, man, I don't even think about statistics when I play, but it's just so great to have guys who can shoot the ball so amazingly on the same team because it makes us so much better throughout the year. Throughout practice we push each other. I've never played on a team with guys who shoot it better than me. Now I've got two guys that arguably do, and it just motivates me to be better. That's why I think I'm shooting the ball at such a high level this year.

Q. You were great friends with Anderson Varejao while he was with the Warriors. You guys even went fishing together, if I'm not mistaken. How is your relationship, and are you surprised that he's not attracted any interest from NBA teams so far this season?
KLAY THOMPSON: Yeah, I'm surprised just because he's such a great teammate. He's such a great player. He's just so fun to play with because just he does all the little things. He's just a great teammate. He's always getting offensive boards, setting great screens, taking charges. He does things that are phenomenal. He's just a great friend of mine. We clicked immediately when he got here. He's a funny guy. He's got a great heart. He's never mean to people, and he just is very kind-hearted. We miss him out here, and we hope he gets a shot because he deserves it.

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