In his pre-injury prime, Klay Thompson was in the best handful of shooting-guards across the NBA. As one of the best shooters in the history of the game, and an elite perimeter defender on the other side of the ball, the Golden State Warriors‘ star was an incredibly valuable two-way asset.
Devastating torn ACL and achilles injuries in back-to-back years have disturbed Thompson’s place as a top three shooting-guard in the league. While his return should be classified as a success, particularly given his role in the Warriors’ incredible 2022 championship, younger talent appears to have surged past the 33-year-old.
Golden State Warriors’ veteran Klay Thompson has been ranked outside the top dozen in a list of the NBA’s best shooting-guards.
In a recent ranking of the top shooting-guards, Hoopshype’s Frank Urbina has Thompson as the 13th best in the NBA. That’s a far cry from the sort of regard the five-time All-Star was once held, perhaps providing extra motivation for Thompson to return to near his best next season.
"“There’s a middle ground to be had between the eye test and advanced metrics – even at his peak, Thompson was far from beloved by advanced stats – and the former Washington State standout had an overall good season last year, at least until the playoffs”, Urbina wrote."
There’s a couple of jarring aspects that undoubtedly play a role in how Thompson is viewed around the league. As Urbina points out, his most recent form was disastrous during the playoffs where he shot less than 39% from the field.
The more poignant matter is the fact he’s making $43.1 million on the final year of his contract next season. Although it’s hard to argue against the sentiment that he’s overpaid, that belief may be having an unfair bearing on how he’s viewed in contrast to other players.
Immediately above Thompson in the rankings is CJ McCollum — that’s a harsh standing for the Warrior sharpshooter given the defensive disparity between both players. Above that duo is Jalen Green — are we sure that his inevitable passing of Thompson has already happened? At the base of the top ten is Tyler Herro — again, the defensive issues are a big question mark. One thing’s for sure, if Golden State could have one player solely for next season, they’re keeping Thompson over any of the three players directly ranked above him.
The list is headed by Phoenix Suns’ superstar Devin Booker, while the top five is rounded out by former number one overall pick Anthony Edwards, explosive Cleveland Cavaliers’ scorer Donovan Mitchell, Boston Celtics’ new $300 million-man Jaylen Brown, and athletic Chicago Bulls’ wing Zach Lavine.