Cleat Geeks

Klay Thompson: The Best 2 Man In the NBA

Klay Thompson is half of the best shooting backcourt in the history of the NBA. The Warriors play an offensive game based on pace and space, generating open 3 point looks from the free throw line extended and the corners. Steph Curry’s high ball screen at the top of the circle has become one of the most difficult plays to defend in today’s NBA. Curry draws so much attention coming off the high screen, often the screener (usually Draymond Green) receives the roll pass from Curry and has a mini 4 on 3 break. Green is masterful at finding guys in the corners for open 3s or hitting the big (usually Andrew Bogut) for the lob dunk. Thompson is often one of the guys in the corner. And often, when he gets the swing from Green off that mini 4 on 3, the ball finds the bottom of the nylon.ThompsonWSU

Klay Thompson went to Washington State University and was drafted by the Warriors with the 11th pick in the 2011 draft. Thompson was a knock down gunner from day one in the NBA. As the seasons have gone on, Thompson’s game has steadily improved. He has been an All-Star, Team USA member, 3 point contest winner, and most importantly, NBA champ.

Thompson has shown the capability of heating up on the court more than anyone in the league, other than possibly his backcourt mate. He has had a 37 point quarter (an NBA record), a 50 plus point game, and has exploded in short bursts with dazzling results.

Thompson has been the number one option for the Warriors since Curry’s knee injury this postseason. He has stepped in seamlessly to that role. In Game 1 of the West Semi-finals, Klay dropped a game high 37 points on 50% shooting, cashing in 7 from the land of 3. He is averaging a career best 25.7 points this postseason. The team has played great ball, hardly missing a beat, since Curry went down. The team has proven pundits wrong by blowing the doors off Houston to close out their first round match-up, and beating the Blazers comfortably from wire to wire in Game 1 of Round 2.

Photo by; Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Photo by; Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

While Klay is known for his offense, he is one of the best perimeter defenders in the NBA. He often guards the most dangerous perimeter offensive weapon for the opposing team. The Warriors are an unheralded defensive unit, but their points per shot this postseason has only been bested by the Spurs and Hawks, respectively. Draymond, Bogut, Barnes and Klay are all solid defensive players, allowing the Warriors to play their style to perfection. Their fast paced offense doesn’t flourish without first generating stops.

Klay Thompson is the best 2 in the NBA, a position that is loaded in today’s game. Defensively Thompson gets it done every night. He is a knock down shooter and moves without the ball with the best of them in today’s game. His basketball IQ concerning where to find the angles and open spots off teammates penetration is second to none. Still, there will be people who question my position. Let’s examine further the validity of my claim by asking the tough questions.

What if Klay was on another team? What if he was the man expected to deliver night after night as the number one option? Could he lead a team to the playoffs as a franchise player?

For my money, the answer to all these questions is a resounding yes.

Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images

Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images

Many may claim that James Harden is the best 2 in the league. I would say that any player that plays that putrid of defense cannot under any circumstances be considered the best of anything. He often gives up as many points as he scores when facing solid opposition. To me, Harden is the Carmelo of 2 men. He is exclusively a one way player.

Photo by; Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

Photo by; Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

What about Paul George? He is phenomenal on both ends. He has led Indiana to the playoffs year after year. But, he failed to reach the Finals when Indiana was loaded with talent. He reached the East Finals year after year, but the Pacers could never get by the Heat. To me, he is the second best 2 in the league over Harden. This may not be the popular opinion, but the facts are there.

Dwyane-Wade2What about D-Wade? 3 time champion. Finals MVP. Perennial All-Star. All facts sound like reasons to make a claim that Wade is the best 2 in the game. But, his health. Oh, his health. And his age. 34 may as well be 54 when you are tasked night after night with chasing some of the best athletes in the world, who are 27 and under. So, Wade is out. He may still be top 5 at his position, but number one is a stretch.

Let’s all hop in our time machines and pretend that it’s late June and the Warriors have once again won the title. What do we say about Klay then? A two-time champion, a member of one of the best teams of all time. In a game where success and legacies are defined by rings, Klay has the upper hand on his contemporaries. And at only 26, it may be that way for a while.

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