Klay Thompson Will Be Among NBA’s “Elite” This Season


Klay Thompson is, without a doubt, a good NBA player, but it is after his most recent experience playing with Team USA in Spain for the FIBA Basketball World Cup that he’ll prove himself worthy to be considered among the NBA’s elite.

Live Feed

'Painful Goodbye' - Golden State Warriors disappointment expected to continue
'Painful Goodbye' - Golden State Warriors disappointment expected to continue /

Blue Man Hoop

  • Former Wizard offers a controversial take on Klay Thompson's strugglesWiz of Awes
  • "He never improved" - Former Golden State Warriors' player takes unnecessary shot at Klay ThompsonBlue Man Hoop
  • The Ringer's Player Rankings shows why the Golden State Warriors may need to make a tradeBlue Man Hoop
  • Golden State Warriors have a big problem with ever-reliable veteranBlue Man Hoop
  • Golden State Warriors: 10-time All-Star places Klay Thompson's struggles on teammateBlue Man Hoop
  • He’s already renowned for his sharpshooting ability, scoring 18.4 points per game last season. His shooting percentages are among some of the best guards in the NBA, shooting 44.4 percent from the field and 41.7 percent from behind the arc. He’s a career 43.5 percent field goal shooter and a 41.0 percent long-range shooter. For all the advanced statistics junkies, Thompson has an effective field goal percentage of 53.1 percent, which stands as the 36th best in the NBA.

    Thompson’s most impressive stat, however, is that just last season alone, he scored a total of 223 shots from three-point range, which was second to fellow Splash Brother Stephen Curry‘s 261 total threes. As many are aware, Curry currently holds the record for most threes in a season with 272, and Thompson came in third that season with 211. What the stats show is that Thompson’s ability to score has been steadily improving.

    Unfortunately for Thompson, being a shooter is all he’s really known as.

    Thompson is just beginning to be recognized for his ability as an on-ball defender, a necessary trait to have when playing perimeter defense next to Curry.

    As for Thompson’s ability to score inside, his history of missed easy layups (a.k.a., “Klay-Ups”) and a lack of solid ball handling ability continue to haunt him despite him showing improvement in both areas.

    More from Golden State Warriors

    His passing ability is also called into question when it’s revealed that 94.3 percent of Thompson’s career three-point attempts have been assisted, and he’s currently holds the title of the “NBA’s Biggest Ball Hog” considering he has a 49.4 percent pass/touches ratio.

    Among most fans, Thompson is seen simply as a one-trick pony, a shooter that scores more than he should be simply because he plays alongside Curry. He’s known to be one of the best catch-and-shoot players in the NBA, and that’s it. What many don’t tend to acknowledge is Thompson’s ever-improving game, but to Team USA, Thompson’s worth as a player is clear and evident.

    Defensive specialist and Team USA assistant coach Tom Thibodeau said in an interview with Warriors TV that he considers Thompson to be a great defender and that both Thompson and Curry are among the NBA’s elite.

    "“Klay obviously has established himself as a great defender in the league,” Thibodeau said,” and I think Steph isn’t given enough credit for what he’s done defensively. They’re both elite players and I think the way they’ve won speaks for what they’ve done for that organization. They’re young, and they’re only gonna get better.”"

    Jim Boeheim, another assistant coach on Team USA, also had some good things to say about Thompson.

    "“Klay Thompson plays every play,” Boeheim said. “He plays like he wants to beat you every play. He doesn’t take a play off, both ends of the court — he’s a really good defender, obviously a very good shooter, and I think he’s a very underrated player. We really like him.”"

    Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

    Playing for Team USA is a great experience for NBA players. When you play for your country alongside some of the best players in the world, that kind of opportunity allows for players to learn from each other and raise their level of play. As Warriors broadcaster Jim Barnett alluded to in a recent interview, playing with best pushes players to want more for themselves instead of settling for being just “good enough”.

    The Warriors organization chose to keep Thompson despite rumors of Thompson’s agent demanding a max contract and Kevin Love wanting to come play for Golden State. Although Thompson is happy to still be with the Warriors, there’s no denying there’s pressure on Thompson to prove he was worth giving up Love for.

    Golden State is likely counting on Thompson to show a great deal of improvement following his stint with Team USA, going from good shooter to great all-around two-guard.

    Last season, Thompson finished ninth in All-Star voting. This season, Thompson will utilize what he’s gained from playing with Team USA and reach an elite level of play worthy of being an All-Star. Book it!