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Klay Thompson.

Klay Thompson: The Unheralded Star of the Golden State Warriors

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As the Golden State Warriors edge ever closer to the immortal total of 73 wins, they are constantly under the spotlight, apart from one man.

While Steph Curry is on the cusp of a second consecutive MVP, getting huge advertising deals, and Draymond Green is trash-talking everyone in the league, Klay Thompson, the Warriors' third star stays in the shadows.

It appears to be Klay’s personality to shy away from the cameras off the court and stay out of the media’s attention, but is his consistent improvement under-estimated because of this?

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One of Thompson’s greatest attributes is that he has absolutely no problem playing second-fiddle to Curry, as he also recognises the greatness he is witnessing on a nightly basis.

However, that can be said for very few stars in the NBA, as if many others were in Klay’s position, boasting the same ability, you could be certain that some would want to force a move away from Golden State where they could be a team’s figurehead.

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But that just isn’t in Thompson’s nature, even though he is surely well aware that he could be aiming for scoring titles, three-point records and possibly MVP awards at other franchises.

With three games remaining on the Warriors schedule, 19 three-pointers would give Klay the second highest number of single-season threes after the record Curry has already obliterated so far this year.

This could then be added to the records that the Warriors have already broken this season, as they have smashed the record for the most team three-pointers, passing the 1,000 mark on Sunday night vs Portland, and Curry and Thompson already now own the most three-pointers for a duo in a single campaign.

Golden State Warriors v Atlanta Hawks

Yet still people hardly mention the quiet and reserved ‘Splash Brother’, barring the odd instance when he hits a hot streak, like his back to back 40 point games last month, and his truly unbelievable 37 points in a quarter against Sacramento in 2014-15.

Instead, Klay goes about his business with a subtle confidence and great consistency, as he's averaging an impressive 22.4 points per game this term, following on from his 21.7 points per game last year.

Even though his shooting is remarkable, 43% from behind the arc during this 2015-16 regular season, his defence is just as important to the Warriors.

Before Curry’s defence improved markedly under the guidance of defensive assistant coach Ron Adams in the previous campaign, Thompson would regularly guard the opposing team’s point guard instead of Curry. 

It is still a tactic which is occasionally used by Golden State head coach Steve Kerr, as Klay’s length often provides a bigger problem for the smaller opposing point guards and has become an extremely useful tool for the Warriors in many difficult situations.

As many people get so caught up in the shooting, it is hard not to, they are unable to spot that he is one of the best man-to-man defenders in the league and, playing in a team which also contains Green and Andrew Bogut, that makes the Oakland-based team a lockdown defence when they want to be.

Dallas Mavericks v Golden State Warriors

Born as the son of a former number one draft pick and former NBA champion, Mychal Thompson, there was always pressure on Klay to succeed, particularly in a family of sportsmen. His younger brother Trayce is now entering his second season in Major League Baseball while older brother Mychel plays for the Golden State’s NBA D-League affiliate in Santa Cruz.

Every year he has been in the league, this is now Thompson’s fifth, his field goal percentage and points per game have improved, exemplifying the work he has put in to continually raise his game to higher levels. He was rewarded with his first NBA championship ring last season and a second consecutive All-Star appearance has followed in this campaign.

New York Knicks v Golden State Warriors

Klay continues to just keep rolling along with the team, and as he has stated before, he just wants to win and has little interest in personal honours. With Curry alongside him in the Warriors backcourt, there may just be a few more championships yet.

It speaks to Thompson's maturity and will to win that he is fine to play out of the spotlight on this team, and he should be celebrated for it. He may not get the credit he usually deserves, but with a ring on his finger, and possibly more on the horizon, he won't complain.

Topics:
NBA
Stephen Curry
Golden State Warriors
Pacific Division
Western Conference
Klay Thompson

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