Stop me if you’ve heard this before: Mark Jackson loves to praise his players and make people think, “Did he just say that?”
The Golden State Warriors head coach was at it again on Sunday, telling the San Jose Mercury News this about Klay Thompson: “He’s a top-five (shooting) guard in this league, and I’m being respectful.”
At first, you read the quote and immediately think there’s no way Jackson is speaking the truth. But then you wonder if you can actually name five shooting guards better than Thompson in the NBA right now.
There’s the obvious choice in Kobe Bryant, but he’s injured. There’s the other veterans in Dwyane Wade, Joe Johnson, and Manu Ginobli, but age seems to be getting to them.
In fact, here are the rankings of shooting guards in the league in terms of points per game: James Harden, Kevin Martin, Monta Ellis, Aaron Afflalo, and Thompson. Out of those players, Thompson has the highest field-goal percentage at 55.2 percent (good enough for second among two guards in the league) and the highest 3-point percentage at 51.5 percent.
A look at that list and you may think, “Hey, maybe he actually should be in the top-5.”
Perhaps the hyperbole of Mark Jackson isn’t so exaggerated after all.