Assessing an NBA player’s monetary worth is an imperfect science. It’s an essential part of constructing a team and a task that every organization’s front office is responsible for.
With that being said, there is no doubt that the Golden State Warriors value their starting shooting guard, Klay Thompson. We have seen a couple of wing players get huge contracts this summer. On e of those wing players is Gordon Hayward, who inked a deal that is worth around $15 million per year (via ESPN). Next summer is a huge off-season for Thompson as he will be looking for a contract in the same ballpark as Hayward. Is Thompson worthy of a max contract?
Like in any market, the value of a player can only be determined by the relative players in the market. If only the upper echelon of stars – the All-NBA guys – were earning max contracts, there’d be no question that giving Thompson the max would be an outrageously pricey move. However, Hayward earning a max contract is something that needs to be taken into consideration.
There are actually quite a few similarities between Thompson and Hayward. They are almost exactly the same age, and their’ career field goal percentages are nearly identical. Their scoring numbers across the last threes are also comparable, with Thompson slightly edging out Hayward. Hayward makes up for that deficit with higher rebound and assist numbers.
What separates the two from one another is their different styles of basketball. Thompson’s offense is created primarily by three’s and long range jumpers. Although he has improved considerably at attacking off the dribble, it is not his “go to” on offense. Hayward, on the other hand, thrives on the open floor and excels at penetrating in the lane. Despite the differences in their game, their impact have been relatively similar.
The argument can be made that Thompson played second fiddle to Stephen Curry, while Hayward has been the de facto leader of his team. That’s absolutely true, but the Utah Jazz was nothing short of atrocious last season. Hayward’s ceiling is, at best, being a secondary option on a playoff team, which translates to being the star on a lowly, lottery-bound team like the 2013-2014 Jazz.
Age is the key factor in the determination of a contract, and Klay is at the ripe age of 24. A max contract extension would mean the Warriors would get to see his best years of basketball.
Based on his three-year NBA resume, there’s strong evidence to believe that Thompson will continue to improve over the coming years. He has transitioned from a catch and shoot player to blossoming into a two-way talent in the league. As he continues to increase his offensive versatility and improve his ability to create his own shot, he will become a more potent threat.
It’s more than likely that Thompson will end up getting a max extension, but if he’s able to display the same improvement that he’s exhibited so far, he will be worth the money.