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Klay Thompson Is Expendable

Klay Thompson forgot how to shoot a basketball and the Warriors didn’t stumble at all

By Stone StrankmanPublished 7 years ago 3 min read
Via: Kyle Terada, USA Today Sports

A few things after watching game one of the NBA Finals: JaVale McGee, Deron Williams, and Matt Barnes are playing in the NBA Finals, Richard Jefferson is about 47 years old now and is still playing professional basketball, Kevin Durant had a sneaky explosion in the first half in which I didn’t notice him setting an atomic bomb off to start the game until he had 16 points, Stephen Curry can still ruin everyone’s lives and hit a three from anywhere on the court, LeBron James is still really great at playing basketball, and Klay Thompson forgot how to shoot a basketball.

Thompson has the fourth and seventh most three pointers made in an NBA season ever, and yet he still forgot how to shoot a basketball. He made 268 three pointers this regular season. I don’t think I can even count to 268, but here we are and Klay Thompson can’t make a three anymore. In these 2017 playoffs Thompson has averaged 14.4 ppg on 38% shooting. In the 2016 playoffs he averaged 24.3 ppg on 44% shooting. Ten points difference in one year and about a 6% drop in shooting. Yes, the Warriors added a top three player in Kevin Durant, but if Thompson has two of the top three three point shooting seasons ever he should be able to put up more than 14.4 ppg.

Klay Thompson was regarded as one of the best shooting guards to start the season mainly because of his ability to shoot from anywhere on the floor, and his defensive ability. Defense wins championships, sure, but is Klay Thompson’s defense absolutely needed against an abysmal J.R. Smith play this season, or senior citizen Richard Jefferson, or even Deron Williams? I say no.

In game one of the NBA Finals Thompson shot 3–16 from the field for six points. Draymond Green scored his first points in the fourth quarter and finished with nine points. Thompson miraculously displayed a plus/minus of +8 and added only three rebounds to four assists. Curry had ten assists and Durant added eight to the Warriors total of 31 assists. Thompson was given chance after chance and I watched him throw up a wide open midrange shot that hit the top of the backboard and looked like a seven year old kid tried to chuck the ball in the general vicinity of the hoop.

Golden State let Harrison Barnes go to add Kevin Durant and everyone was worried about the chemistry of the team and the touches of three ball dominant players in Durant, Curry and Thompson. Maybe people were right and Thompson happens to be the odd man out. Thompson has been more of a shell of a player than the one that tossed fire balls at the basket when he displayed greatness of 37 points in one quarter. Thompson was so hot during that game that the core of the earth was actually shown in his eyes, but now Thompson is colder than any of the glaciers that are melting across the world.

If the Golden State Warriors were to play anyone else on their roster other than Klay Thompson during game one, they still win by the 113–91 score that sealed the deal for the 13th straight playoff win in the Bay Area. Golden State looked like the team that everyone was dreaming about when Kevin Durant decided to sign with the Warriors 11 months ago, but it was also extremely different with Thompson not doing what Thompson normally does.

The last time I played a regulated school basketball game was when I was in seventh grade. In that game my team scored six points in the first quarter. It was an abysmal start to the game, but I only threw up two shots that quarter. Two three point shots that somehow found their way to the bottom of the net. I scored six points that game and that’s just as many points as Klay Thompson decided to score in game one. Essentially what I’m trying to say is if you put me in Klay Thompson’s spot you have a 3% chance of me scoring the same amount of points as him in game one of the NBA Finals.

Klay Thompson’s offense has been expendable during these 2017 playoffs, but maybe his defense is really all it’s been hyped up to be. There are not many ways to display a plus/minus of +8 after shooting 3–16 from the field, but somehow Thompson found a way to do it. His offense has been horrendous and Golden State could survive without him for the rest of the Finals. Thompson may have forgotten how to shoot a basketball, but at least he remembered how to play defense.


About the Creator

Stone Strankman

I'm in a committed relationship with the NBA. Staff Writer, The Unbalanced.

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