In the NBA, usually the third year is the time when you can judge what a player really is. Are they a stud, a bust or a solid role player? So far this season, Klay Thompson is looking like somewhere between stud and solid role player.
When the Golden State Warriors were looking like contenders for Dwight Howard, many fans were debating if they would rather package Thompson or Harrison Barnes with Andrew Bogut to land Howard. After last season, it seemed like Thompson was the more expendable player. His defense was strong but not spectacular. He was a great spot up shooter but not a great scorer. What was often frustrating was his shot selection and inability to finish near the basket. This year, Thompson has made a leap and improving his strengths and clearing his deficiencies.
Out of the gate, Thompson has looked like a different player. He continues his great long range shooting but has been more aggressive going to the basket and posting smaller players. With the addition of Andre Iguodala, Thompson has been allowed to take the second best perimeter player. This has helped Thompson stand out as a defender. Often matched up against smaller point guards, he has used his length and lateral quickness to force difficult shots consistently.
In the first matchup against the Los Angeles Lakers this year, Thompson scored 38 without playing in the 4th quarter. He has scored over 25 points in 5 of the first 13 games. For much of the first month of the season, Thompson has been the Warriors’ best offensive player.
A few weeks ago, there was serious discussion if Thompson should even be a starter. Now, the question is whether or not he will be an All-Star. The Warriors have built a title contending team and much of that is predicated on the emergence of Klay Thompson.