The NBA’s most underrated player, playing for the NBA’s best team? Unheard of. Well, in many ways, this is a very true statement. He’s at the top of almost every NBA long distance shooting records, single season, career, and playoffs. Even more perplexing? This player is a “household name,” but nobody ever talks about him or allows him the respect and accolades that he so rightfully deserves.
Who, you may ask is this guy? Klay Thompson.
I have a “beef” with people who say that Klay is not one of the top 7 players in all of basketball in the past two years. I have even more of one for those who say that he is not in the top 2 of every person’s best all-around player in The Association list. Thompson has been in the shadow of Curry since he has been drafted. He has excelled in every major category that you can think of as a player, but Steph has diminished his spotlight with his astonishing, record-breaking seasons that he has compiled in back-to-back years. The combo, along with Draymond, has proven to be dynamic. However, this individual as a result has been overshadowed.
Klay Thompson has broken a couple single-season and NBA playoff records that many fail to realize:
- 2016 NBA 3-point championship (He beat Steph).
- NBA record for most 3-pointers made in a single playoff game (11).
- NBA regular season record for most points in a quarter (37).
- And lastly, (this one strikes me the most) NBA record for most 3-pointers made in a single playoffs (98).
Guess who this record is shared with? You guessed it. Steph Curry. Klay Thompson is at the top of the all-time record for most 3-pointers in a quarter with 9. The last and arguably most impressive one. Klay Thompson is 3rd all-time on the 3-pointers made in a season. You wanna’ know who is 1 and 2? Steph Curry! Think about that. Besides Steph, Klay holds the most 3-pointers made in a season. In NBA HISTORY.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I am the first person to advocate Steph Curry and his uncanny shooting ability over the past 2 seasons. BUT, I think that on a team filled with this caliber of talent, Klay gets the lesser of accolades when it comes to him and his other two teammates. On defense, Klay proves to the world where he and his talent can outshine. Much like Draymond, he can guard multiple positions and oftentimes guards the best player on the other team. Name me another player in the league that holds similar all-time records and plays as good as defense as he does in his first 5 years in the league. I bet any name that comes out of your mouth is in the Hall of Fame, or is on their way in.
Klay Thompson, in many situations, is Golden State’s best player. Yes, I said it. When Steph and Klay are both on the court, opposing teams cannot double-team Steph. They have to faceguard or trail every screen with a hedge from the screener’s defender, in hopes that it takes Curry farther from the hoop. This allows Steph to get one-on-one matchup’s that he would not see without another sniper on the outside. Klay is also able to go isolation with his own defender, where he has proven this past year that he is as effective inside the arc as he is outside. Secondly, when Steph comes out of the game, the assault that comes from the 3-point line never misses a beat because Klay is on the floor. This allows Steph to get a rest and keep the onslaught coming. Likewise, on the defensive end Klay is able to guard the best shooting guard and keep the defensive exposure minimal for Steph. All of these play huge during the course of a full game and an 82 game season. Think I’m wrong? Why did the Warriors sign Draymond and Klay to max deals? You got it. They create all kinds of help to number 30.
Here’s my thing. The NBA’s best all-around player is seen as the 3rd best guy on their roster. Why is this? Steph and Klay have much of the same accolades, barring MVPs. They both have a championship, which they won with each other. I am just curious as to why the NBA focuses on Curry and Draymond when the guy that has been the most consistent, productive guy on the team over the past two championship-run seasons wears number 11? He stays out of trouble, says all the right things, and plays well with other superstars. What more could you want out of the NBA’s most underrated player?
The Warriors wouldn’t be the Warriors who have been to two straight NBA Finals without Klay. That much I do know.
Klay, keep firin’ away my man.