Stephen Curry changes direction against Jason Thompson and the Sacramento Kings. (Photo: Jonathan Santiago)

Jason Thompson is entering his sixth season in the NBA. Each year, the veteran power forward has always found ways to add new wrinkles to his game.  This season, Thompson’s defense has turned heads.  Last week, the 27-year-old forward was asked to explain his early success on the defensive side of the floor and this is what he said.

On playing defense…

I think my defense has gotten better. (I’m just) trying to stay out of foul trouble, get more steals, blocks – things like that. I’m gonna let the offense come. Sometimes, I have games where my offense is good and sometimes it’s not needed, especially how well (DeMarcus Cousins) is playing in the paint, switching the lineups up and things like that.

For the most part with coach’s defensive schemes, it’s really helping me out and I’m learning to learn defensive principles depending on what man I have… And I’m ahead of things – I’m not late on different rolls to the basket and things like that. So as much as I’m trying to learn, I’m (also) ahead of the plays (mentally)…

On how his teammates’ commitment to defense has made him a better defender…

To be a good defensive player, obviously you have to be, if you’re a guard, be a good on-ball defender. If you’re a big, you gotta be a good post defender. But to be a good overall defensive player has to come with the other players, too. So guys are buying in, they’re listening to (my) defensive calls when I call a certain screen and how I’m gonna play up on it. If they’re buying into that and I’m finishing it off with a rebound, then (we’ve been able to go) into transition and get an easy basket.

On how Michael Malone’s clearcut approach to teaching defense has helped…

Oh for sure, for sure. The principles, the structure has definitely changed. Coach knows from years ago with (the) Kings (that) we’ve been (a) top team in offense, but that doesn’t win games. Defense has definitely been a thing. We had offseason workouts (and) there’s times or hours where we just didn’t even touch the ball. We just learned the defensive principles; we just tried to get better on that. Sometimes, it’s not the fun thing to do, but if it wins games and changes the schemes and things for this organization, then I’m all for it.