If you quickly run a thought exercise of the worst contracts in NBA history, there’s a good chance that Golden State Warriors’ sharpshooter Klay Thompson won’t be within the top handful you think of.
Yet according to HoopsHype’s recent ranking of the most overpaid players of all-time, Thompson sits third only behind long-time Washington Wizards’ guard John Wall and Charlotte Hornets’ forward Gordon Hayward.
Advanced analytics certainly don’t favor Golden State Warriors’ shooting-guard Klay Thompson, with no other explanation for his standing as one of the most overpaid players of all-time.
Thompson’s place on the list comes from HoopsHype’s real value metric which evaluates a player’s on-court performance, age, availability and off-court issues, among other factors.
The metric supposedly had Thompson as an $8.7 million player last season which…ummm seems odd for someone who averaged 21.9 points per game on 41.2% shooting from three-point range. In fairness to HoopsHype, they acknowledge Thompson’s ranking may come as a surprise.
"“This one might come as somewhat of a surprise, as Golden State Warriors 2-guard Klay Thompson is a future first-ballot Hall of Famer and one of the purest shooters basketball has ever seen. The issue, at least for this exercise, is that his game – even before the injuries – was never well-liked by analytics”, authors Frank Urbina and Raul Barrigon wrote."
The top three in the rankings, Wall, Hayward and Thompson, all have one thing in common — they have missed considerable time with injury while being on lucrative deals that net them over $30 million per season. This has clearly been the key facet in their unwanted standing as the most overpaid players in history.
However, you could make the argument that Thompson doesn’t deserve to be lumped into the same category. He’s far from an often injury-plagued star, rather has suffered two freak injuries that’s seen him miss two-and-a-half seasons.
Rightfully or wrongfully, advanced analytics has taken over the way in which we evaluate NBA players. Specific metrics may arrive at a result such as this, but they don’t necessarily take into account Thompson’s four NBA championships and his five All-Star appearances.
If you ask Warrior fans and ownership, they may actually argue he’s been underpaid throughout the course of his career. The 33-year-old is a franchise legend who’s meant everything to the Bay Area over the last dozen years — that’s the sort of aspect you can’t put a value on.