Warriors: Klay Thompson, Kent Bazemore
Grizzlies: Tony Allen, Mike Miller, Jamaal Franklin
The shooting guard matchup is oozing with defensive talent. As I mentioned before, Tony Allen is one of the best perimeter defenders in the league. Klay Thompson quietly turned in a great defensive season last year, holding his own against some of the best offensive players in the league. Kent Bazemore is another great defender (Lefty Driesell Award winner), but he hasn’t had much of a chance to prove it in the NBA just yet.
The problem with Tony Allen is offense. Although he has a career shooting percentage of 47.5 percent, he is abysmal from behind the three-point line and averages only 8 points per game for his career.
There aren’t many NBA players that can dominate on both sides of the ball, so Allen’s offense can usually be ignored. However, Klay Thompson has the potential to be a great two-way player and that gives him some lift over Allen.
Thompson is still young and he definitely has a lot of growing to do on both sides of the ball, but his instincts and natural ability are off the charts. On offense, Klay isn’t much more than a shooter right now. He needs to work on his ball handling and his footwork if he wants to add more moves to his game.
Still, Thompson shoots better than almost anyone and that is something that shouldn’t be taken for granted. He can develop other moves, but most players will never develop his shooting touch.
Mike Miller’s experience will be welcomed by the Grizzlies. He used to be a great all-around player and can still show flashes of his younger self. But his biggest contribution will be right behind the three-point line. He will be the yin to Allen’s yang.