Mark Jackson emphasizes defense passionately. All year, while the Golden State Warriors sank three-pointers coach Jackson maintained a focused defensive attitude. Harrison Barnes, David Lee, Andrew Bogut and, dare I say, Festus Ezili all contributed in exemplary fashion to the Warriors defensive efforts, but Klay Thompson deserves distinction.
In Game 2 of the Warriors-San Antonio Spurs playoff series, Thompson stunned the commentators with a breakout performance, netting 29 points in the first half. He was credited with containing Tony Parker, a difficult accomplishment, that some attribute to his height advantage.
Klay hounded Parker (6’1″) on defense, but also stopped Manu Ginobili (6’5″) and Kawhi Leonard (6’7″) when matched up against either of them.
I challenge you to focus on Thompson during the next Warriors game you watch and disagree with my claim: Klay Thompson is the best defender on the Golden State Warriors.
I know some will point to Andrew Bogut as the team’s best defender, citing his blocks and the opposing teams’ points in the paint while the Australian plays; I can’t completely argue against that. Bogut defends big men and the rim. His presence on the floor can change an opposing team’s offensive game plan. However, Thompson’s versatility and quiet dominance make him number one in my book.
Thompson impresses with his calm demeanor when guarding on or off the ball. He exerts strength with his lower body; he fouled out of game one preventing Tony Parker from driving baseline with (in my opinion) clean and proper defense. While the refs whistled him for the foul in that instance, his defensive style tends to go under the radar while considerably impacting his opponents productivity.
Thompson can guard point guards, shooting guards or small forwards, and seems to always match up against one of the best offensive threats on the court. He hasn’t received much credit for his astute defending, but I give him my praise; I hope those who read this pay a bit more attention to Klay Thompson’s consistent defense.