In his third season in the NBA, Klay Thompson emerged as one of the best shooting guards in the NBA.
That being said, even in what was a breakout season for the Washington State product, the Golden State Warriors should be willing to trade him if it allows them to get Kevin Love in return.
Thompson’s game took great strides for the Warriors this past season. He upped his scoring average, improved his three point shooting percentage, shot a better percentage from the field, and turned the ball over less. But Thompson’s improvement and importance to the Warriors was more than just because of his offensive game.
Even with the addition of Andre Iguodala, Thompson appeared to be the Warriors best wing defender. If you don’t believe me, just watch any film from the Clippers-Warriors first round series. Whenever the Warriors needed stops defensively, Thompson guarded Chris Paul, one of the league’s best players. Andre Iguodala did not.
But Thompson still has not shown major improvements in his playmaking ability or rebounding ability. He is still the true definition of a “shooting” guard.
Last week after a report that Kevin Love is not planning on signing an extension with Minnesota, the Warriors were linked in countless trade rumors that would send the UCLA product to the Bay Area. The Warriors best package would likely be centered around David Lee and a younger player, either Harrison Barnes or Klay Thompson, but owner Joe Lacob made it clear that the Warriors don’t plan on trading Thompson.
What a shame that would be.
Are you telling me that the Warriors would actually be unwilling to ship off Thompson and David Lee for Kevin Love? Even if it was only two years of Love? He is one of the ten bet players in the NBA. He is a true six feet and 10 inches tall and can do just about anything he wants on the offensive end of the floor. Love averaged 26.1 points and 12.5 rebounds this past season and has averaged double-digit rebounds each of the past five seasons. Love not only has legitimate three-point range, but can also play in the post. Pick-and-roll’s involving Stephen Curry and Love would be almost impossible to stop.
But the Warriors don’t want Love. They would rather have Klay Thompson.
The Western Conference is loaded with stellar guards: James Harden, Damian Lillard, Goran Dragic, Russel Westbrook, Chris Paul, Mike Conley and Tony Parker among others. In other words, Thompson is good, but the players above are in another class. Thompson may make one All-Star team, but I have a hard time believing that he would make consecutive All-Star teams with all the competition for the Western Conference guard spots. Love is already a three-time All-Star and looks poised to continue to be a dominant force in the NBA for years to come.
While the Warriors don’t want to break up the Warriors’ Splash Brothers backcourt, they have shown that they can find talent even without having first round picks. The Warriors found Draymond Green in the second round and he has emerged as their best bench player. Without a first round pick this season and in 2017 and 2019, the Warriors will need to do a good job signing free agents and a good job finding gems like Green in the second round.
It can be done. You can find a guy a shooting guard who can score 12 to 15 points per game, dish out three assists, and collect three rebounds per game. But it is rare to find a player with Love’s ability. And for as good Thompson was this year, if it means giving him up to get Love, the decision should be a no brainer.
Tags: Klay Thompson