The Golden State Warriors won’t play a meaningful game for another 10 weeks, and training camp won’t even start until October. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t story lines to discuss. We just have to look a little deeper than usual.
File this one under “fun with numbers.”
Klay Thompson had a great rookie year, especially after he assumed a starting role when Monta Ellis backed his bags for Milwaukee. He showed great poise, increased defensive consistency and of course, a spectacular shooting stroke. Just check out his starter/reserve splits. Suffice it to say, starting suits Thompson.
Projecting Thompson’s future career, and more immediately, how he’ll perform in his sophomore campaign is a fun exercise. Not many rookies shoot the ball like Thompson did in his first year, so it’s easy to get carried away with hypothetical career trajectories.
Is he the next Richard Hamilton? Maybe, but he’s got much deeper range than Hamilton, and has shown a bit more versatility than Rip already.
Is he Reggie Miller 2.0? It’s hard to say. But Thompson has a more complete game than Miller did. Plus he’s bigger.
Ray Allen? Now we’re getting warmer. Allen is the NBA’s all-time leader in three-point makes, but he’s never been a one-dimensional long-range bomber. Allen’s always had a pretty complete game. He’s averaged better than 20 points per game eight times, always efficiently. And he’s shown an ability to pass, rebound and defend.
So, just for curiosity’s sake, how does Klay Thompson’s rookie season stack up against Ray Allen’s first year? To keep things fair, check out this link that compares their per-36 minute averages as rookies at basketball-reference.com.
Thompson was actually better than Allen as a scorer, and he outshot him from the field, the three-point line and the foul stripe. Allen was a better rebounder and his team had a better winning percentage than Thompson’s Warriors—40 percent to 35 percent. Overall, that’s a pretty favorable comparison for Thompson.
So, there you have it! Fun with numbers has yielded an interesting conclusion: Klay Thompson was a better player as a rookie than Ray Allen. We can’t enshrine Thompson in the Hall of Fame just yet; he’ll have to step his game up to an all-star level and keep it there for about 15 years to catch Allen in the long run. But for now, Thompson’s in pretty darn good company.