A four-time All-Star who has also earned two All-NBA selections, Klay Thompson has been described as the best two-way guard in the NBA. However, the third scoring option on one of the greatest teams in NBA history, many downplay his importance to the Warriors. But in the era of run & gun, an all-time shooter crossed with an elite defender cannot be undervalued. So let’s take a look at just how instrumental Klay has been for Golden State, and why it will continue.
Can’t be Ignored
Generally, the biggest challenge teams face when playing the Warriors is what to focus on defensively. Naturally, the eyes are drawn to the former MVPs, Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant. Curry, a two-time league MVP can either pull from 30-feet out or torch you off the dribble for an easy layup. And Durant, a one-time league MVP, and Finals MVP is one of the most versatile players the game has ever seen.
However, as if these superstars weren’t enough, you also have to worry about Klay Thompson. Because if you forget about a 20.0 point per game scorer who shoots 44 percent from behind the arc, Curry and Durant won’t be the ones giving you trouble. And that’s the advantage of having a third all-star on your team. It forces opponents to stretch their rosters and put not such great players on fantastic offensive talents. However, Klay’s impact doesn’t end there.
As I said before, many consider Thompson one of the best two-way guards in the NBA. Here is a list of Klay Thompson’s matchups throughout the playoffs so far.
First Round- Dejounte Murray
Second Round- Jrue Holiday
Conference Finals- James Harden
NBA Finals- George Hill?
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Taking on the best backcourt player opponents have to offer, Klay’s defensive efforts give Steph a break which allows him to preserve more energy for offense. However, as teams begin to realize Golden State is hiding Curry on defense, they are catching him in more pick & roll situations.
Following game six of the Western Conference Finals, Klay Thompson stated the following in a postgame interview:
— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) May 27, 2018
Following a 35-point (nine threes) performance against the Houston Rockets in a do or die game six, Klay Thompson shared about the hard-work he’s put in to perform when the lights shine the brightest. However, This isn’t the first time Klay has lifted the Warriors in an elimination game. In game six of the 2016 Western Conference Finals, Thompson scored an outstanding 41 points on 11-18 shooting from behind the arc. Incredible numbers, it’s safe to say that although Curry and Durant are stupendous players, Klay Thompson is a fantastic talent who has single-handedly kept many Warriors seasons afloat.