LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard, Steph Curry, Russell Westbrook, and James Harden. Without a doubt, I see those players as the 6 best players in the NBA. After that, it begins to get tougher. Chris Paul, Anthony Davis, Giannis Antetokounmpo, John Wall, Paul George, and Draymond Green are just some of the players that are included in that next group of the top players in the league. One player who I don’t often hear in that group, but should should be, is Klay Thompson.
Klay Thompson is the best 3 and D player in the NBA. He has proven that he can find ways to get open and score when he’s not creating for himself. In the NBA, it isn’t hard to find players who can score the rock. Most of these guys who are at the NBA level have the ability to put up a lot of points if they are given the opportunity. But, for each team, there are only a few guys who can really control the ball because you only need 1 or 2 of those guys out there at a time. So, because of that, you need to have players who have no problem doing the hard work on the defensive end and running around on offense to get open.
Thompson had 550 3-point attempts in catch and shoot opportunities last season. That was 56 more attempts than the player in 2nd, Eric Gordon. Klay shot 43.8% in those situations while Eric Gordon shot 36.4%. That is a huge difference. Night after night, Klay is guarding the opposing team’s best wing on the defensive end while still being productive on offense. You can only say that about a handful of players.
Just take a look here at how he guards against Devin Booker, gets the steal, and then pulls up in transition. I can’t think of another player who can do this as effectively except for maybe his teammate Kevin Durant.
Klay fights over the screen very well and then gets the steal after a poor decision from Booker. Then, he starts the break and pulls up for three. You knew it was going in and soon as he released it.
Nobody can get as hot as Klay Thompson in 1 quarter. That is now a fact based on him being able to score 37 in a quarter 2 years ago as we remember. At his best, he is an unstoppable two-way player who can not be guarded because of his absurdly quick release. At his worst, he is still a consistent three-point shooter who has great defensive mechanics. We could delve into stats and try to prove that Klay is better than the players above him, but that is not the point of this post. Stats can always be manipulated to favor one’s opinion. If you watch Klay play on both ends of the court, you don’t need stats to have to back up the claim that he’s one of the best. Klay Thompson is a terrific player who could fit into any rotation as an off-ball guard. He might truly struggle if he was asked to be the alpha dog and take up the ball at any point, but that’s not his role.
Many who make the argument against Klay being a top 10 player in the NBA state that he just doesn’t have the ball-handling ability and can’t create his own shot. My rebuttal is always that he doesn’t need to do that. If we were talking about who the most complete players were in the NBA, then that would be a good argument. That is not the debate here though. When you talk about the best players in the NBA, you are referring to how they perform in the role they are put into. Klay Thompson’s role is a 3 and D player. And in that role, he’s amazing and truly deserves to be considered one of the top 10 best players in the NBA.