THE SANTA CLARA
October 13, 2016
“A lot of people say (Klay’s) the best two-way shooting guard in the league,” said Warriors forward Draymond Green. “I say he’s the best shooting guard in the league, period.”
Yet, I would surprise even Green when I say that Thompson is the most valuable player on the Golden State Warriors. A player that is the best at his position in the entire league should undoubtedly be considered the best on his team, right?
Thompson shares a backcourt with fellow “Splash Brother” and reigning 2-time MVP Stephen Curry in the most prolific offense in the NBA. After a shocking summer acquisition, the same Warriors offense will now include 2014 NBA MVP Kevin Durant. Despite the star power, I stand firm that nobody is more valuable to the 2016-2017 championship favorites than Klay Thompson.
While people look at Curry’s backto-back, record-breaking three-point seasons, they seem to miss that Thompson’s 276 three-pointer last year are the third most in an NBA season all-time. Durant and Curry both have the propensity to go on incredible individual runs at any given time, but so does Thompson.
In 2015, Thompson set an NBA record for points in a single quarter with 37 against the Kings. All these recordbreaking performances come from a guy whose field goal percentage and points per game have increased every year he’s been in the league.
His offense brings balance to an otherwise three-point happy offense. He is one of the best at his position in getting to the rim and can work in a superb mid-range game in front of the three-point line.
At the end of the day, Thompson can be just as dominant on the offensive end as Durant and Curry, but he distinguishes himself with his ability to play both ways and come in the clutch. Thompson is able to be one of the best scorers in the league while also guarding the best offensive threat on the opposition for the entirety of the game. He is an elite two-way player, and his value to the team could not be replicated.
Further proof of Thompson’s value— when Curry missed the majority of the first two Western Conference playoff series last year, the Thompson-led Warriors had no trouble defeating the Rockets or the Trail Blazers.
And it was Thompson who saved the Warriors from elimination against Durant’s Thunder in last year’s Western Conference Finals. With the Warriors trailing late in the fourth quarter, Thompson sunk four three-pointers to lead the comeback. The fourth quarter barrage was en route to another NBA postseason record—11 three-pointers in a single game, and the Warriors went on to win the series.
It is not a matter of his ability to light up scoreboards night after night or win accolades—Thompson is simply overshadowed by the rest of his team. He continues to thrive in the shadows while others garner the attention. It is very likely that in 2016-2017 the Warriors capture their second title in the last three years, but nobody will be more responsible for the feat than Klay Thompson.
Ben Epstein is a senior finance major.