The shooting guard is a spot that’s not short of historic NBA Hall of Famers. Kobe Bryant, Reggie Miller, Clyde Drexler and, of course, Michael Jordan have all filled the spot with unstoppable offence, smothering defence and countless highlight plays.
The current crop is promising as well, with the likes of James Harden and Jimmy Butler emerging as some of the best the NBA has to offer. But one player who’s arguably ahead of them is current NBA Champion and two-time All-Star, Klay Thompson.
The 'Forgotten' Warrior
Let’s face it, with players like Stephen Curry and Draymond Green on your team, it’s not exactly easy to be seen as the go-to option. But Klay is far and beyond that kind of player and, given a different group of teammates, would easily be the guy that’s looked upon to force the play.
Over the course of this season, he’s helped lead Golden State to their ridiculous 46-4 record and has been putting up ridiculous statlines left, right and centre.
He’s scored over 30 points nine times this campaign and is shooting the three-ball at a freakish 43 percent, good enough for top three at his position. Add to this an ice cold composure at the charity stripe, which he gets to on a regular basis, and you’ve got yourself one of the purest shooters at the two spot.
The Best Defensive Two in the League
Historically, defence has always been something of an afterthought for shooting guards. Whilst MJ and Kobe were dominant defensive players – there have always been plenty of guards that leave that side of the game at the wayside.
Thompson’s not that kind of player, and it has paid massive dividends for him and the Warriors franchise.
Whilst Harden is drawing plaudits despite the Rockets’ being barely over .500, Thompson is regularly guarding the best names in the league for one of the stingiest defensive teams of recent memory.
Klay’s splash brother, Curry, is making mincemeat of his defender and nailing improbable to damn near impossible shots, but it’s Thompson’s work on the other side of the floor that’s really powering the Golden State machine.
His kind of work doesn’t always show on the stat sheet, but those regular shot contests, smothering help defence and ability to dodge screens make him an invaluable asset well worth max money.
In fact, against any other two in the league, is there any player as productive on both sides of the ball as Thompson?
Sure, Harden is an offensive force, but his levels of defence on show at the Toyota Centre regularly leave a lot to be desired. DeMar DeRozan has had a year to behold, but while he scores more, he’s still unreliable defensively and is liable to take some less than wise shots from time to time.
Other big name twos who fail to match up to Klay include the likes of C.J. McCollum, Andrew Wiggins and Dwyane Wade. The only realistic challenger is the man who’s making Chi-town his playground this season – Butler.
But whilst Jimmy Buckets, as he’s affectionately known, can produce defensively, his shooting percentages are several rungs below Klay’s, and averages only one extra point each game compared to the Warriors’ All-Star. He also plays an extra five minutes each night - say what you will about that.
Simply enough, the two guard is a different spot to yesteryear, but it’s clear that the current leader of the pack is one Mr. Thompson – and he’s only getting better.