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View Poll Results: Where does Klay rank among the best players in the league?

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    1 3.45%
  • 11-15

    4 13.79%
  • 16-20

    11 37.93%
  • 21-25

    8 27.59%
  • 26+

    5 17.24%
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  1. #1
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    Klay Thompson: The most overrated player in the league?

    So this discussion came up in the Jimmy Butler thread, but it led me to really look at Thompson's numbers and research his career until I came to some conclusions about him. And I just really feel like this deserves it's own thread for discussion.

    I'll preface this by saying I think Thompson is a damn good basketball player who every other team in the league would absolutely welcome with open arms. Hell, as a pure shooter he'll probably go down as one of the five greatest to ever play the game, and between that and the rings he has and will inevitably add over the years, he's probably a lock for the Hall of Fame.

    But in the last week, I've seen posters on this site rank Thompson in the top 10 of all players in the league, which I think is just absurd. On Bill Simmons list earlier this season on his podcast, he ranked Thompson 12th, which I still think is just way too high.

    But I just got done raving about the guy and saying he's a Hall of Famer? Why doesn't he belong in this conversation? Because he's a remarkably one-dimensional player with only one elite skill who has made only marginal improvements as a basketball player the last few years, isn't remotely as productive as other elite players, has tanked in the playoffs and is easily the most expendable player of the four core guys in Golden State.

    So let's take this piece by piece:

    1. One-dimensionality
    So Thompson is a really good shooter. He's on pace for about 267 3-pointers this season assuming he doesn't miss any more games, which would be good for eighth most in league history and the third time for him to appear on the all-time top 10 list for three-pointers in a season. And he's doing this despite taking fewer 3-point attempts (7.4) than he has the last two seasons, thanks to a spike in his 3-point shot, hitting 45 percent, his career high. His mid-range shot is also doing extremely well this year. According to Basketball Reference, from 16 feet to the 3-point line, he's making 52.1 percent of his shots, which is insane.

    However, looking at that same table, something really stands out: the guy takes a RIDICULOUS amount of jump shots. To be exact, 68.8 percent of his field goal attempts this season come from 16+ feet from the rim. So despite his athleticism, only 12.2 percent of his shots come within three feet of the basket. To be fair, only 19 percent of Curry's shots come around the rim. However, Curry also gets to the line and is a competent shooter within that 3-16 feet range.

    Thompson takes a shockingly low 1.3 FTA per game. And you can chalk it up to him not getting calls, but if you think about his game, how often do you see him aggressively drive to the basket and draw contact for an and-one? Last night, he took four FTA, but he didn't take a single free throw in the previous four games. Really let that sink in for a minute... It's crazy that his TS% (59.6) is as high as it is given that he's not in the top 100 in the league FTA this season.

    And regarding his poor shooting inside 16 feet, Klay is hitting about 36 percent on shots from 3-10 feet and 39 percent on shots from 10-16 feet. By comparison, Curry is at 39 percent and 52 percent respectively in those categories. Curry is also getting to the line 6.7 times per game.

    That one-dimensionality Klay shows offensively goes beyond just his shooting preferences. He also just simply doesn't create for others. His 2.6 assists per game and 11.5% AST% are both insanely low for his position. He's 105th in the league in assists per game among all players and 23rd among SGs, according to ESPN (which somehow doesn't consider Harden a SG). Compare that to other guys he's regularly compared to: Harden (9.1), Butler (5.1), Derozan (5.1), George (3.1, his lowest since 2012).

    2. Marginal improvement
    I've heard many times this season how Klay has made big strides or how he's having maybe the best season of his career, but is that really true? Let's take a look at the last four seasons:

    14-15: 21.7 points, 2.9 assists, 3.2 rebounds on 46.3/43.9/87.9 percentages
    15-16: 22.1 points, 2.1 assists, 3.8 rebounds on 47/42.5/87.3 percentages
    16-17: 22.3 points, 2.1 assists, 3.7 rebounds on 46.8/41.4/85.3 percentages
    17-18: 20.5 points, 2.6 assists, 4.1 rebounds on 48.1/45/89.3 percentages


    But maybe his advanced numbers will show some improvement?

    14-15: 20.8 PER, 59.1 TS%, 27.6% USG, 14.6% AST%, .172 WS/48, 2.7 BPM, 2.9 VORP
    15-16: 18.6 PER, 59.7 TS%, 26.3% USG, 9.8% AST%, .144 WS/48, 0.7 BPM, 1.8 VORP
    16-17: 17.4 PER, 59.2 TS%, 26.1% USG, 9.4% AST%, .129 WS/48, 0.3 BPM, 1.5 VORP
    17-18: 16.7 PER, 59.6 TS%, 24.2% USG, 11.5% AST%, .110 WS/48, -0.3 BPM, 0.6 VORP (cumulative stat)


    Not only does that not look like a guy who's improving, but that looks like a guy who peaked three years ago and has since plateaued and declined a bit. What's especially interesting to me is that Klay hasn't been significantly more efficient despite the addition of Durant, and he hasn't really been getting a lot more dimes since KD got to Golden State. Also, despite KD and Curry missing a big chunk of the season so far, his USG% is somehow lower than last year, and he's been more productive.

    3. Not producing at an elite level

    This one is much easier for me to argue, as the numbers pretty much speak for themselves. Let's compare Klay's numbers to other wings he's regularly compared to:

    14-15 Klay: 21.7 points, 2.9 assists, 3.2 rebounds on 46.3/43.9/87.9 percentages
    Klay: 20.5 points, 2.6 assists, 4.1 rebounds on 48.1/45/89.3 percentages
    Harden: 32.3 points, 9.1 assists, 5.0 rebounds on 45.1/39/86.7 percentages
    Butler: 21.4 points, 5.1 assists, 6.4 rebounds on 47.1/35/87.5 percentages
    Derozan: 25.0 points, 5.1 assists, 4.2 rebounds on 47.9/37.8/82.5 percentages
    George: 20.7 points, 3.1 assists, 5.5 rebounds on 43.2/43.5/81.3 percentages


    I threw in 14-15 Klay to show you that even his peak season is still probably a tier below these guys productivity-wise. I also didn't include steals, but he's well below every other guy on this list as well in that category, as he's averaging 0.7 a game and every other guy on this last is at 1.2+. His shooting percentages honestly make this seem more even than it is, so let's look at the advanced numbers where the difference really starts to show (note again that VORP is a cumulative stat, so 14-15 Klay had twice as many games as everyone else):

    14-15 Klay: 20.8 PER, 59.1 TS%, 27.6% USG, 14.6% AST%, .172 WS/48, 2.7 BPM, 2.9 VORP
    Klay: 16.7 PER, 59.6 TS%, 24.2% USG, 11.5% AST%, .110 WS/48, -0.3 BPM, 0.6 VORP
    Harden: 30.4 PER, 62.7 TS%, 35.9% USG, 45.2% AST%, .302 WS/48, 10.4 BPM, 3.9 VORP
    Butler: 23.2 PER, 58.5 TS%, 24.6% USG, 21.7% AST%, .199 WS/48, 4.9 BPM, 2.7 VORP
    Derozan: 23.8 PER, 57.9 TS%, 30.0% USG, 24.4% AST%, .210 WS/48, 3.4 BPM, 1.9 VORP
    George: 17.9 PER, 57.0 TS%, 25.2% USG, 13.6% AST%, .135 WS/48, 2.3 BPM, 1.5 VORP


    This is a killer for me. Despite Butler and George playing on new teams this season and every one of these guys playing on teams with a ton of talent with other All-Star caliber players, Klay completely pales in comparison. He's so far below these guys (with the exception of George), that it's insane that he's getting ranked ahead of some of these guys on a regular basis.

    But you say "MBT, you're not really taking his defense into consideration and how important he is to the team?" I'm running out of space here, and this took a ton of time, but I'll try to get to that today as well. Consider this Part 1 of a two-part series...
    Last edited by mightybosstone; 01-13-2018 at 10:58 AM.

    Quote Originally Posted by Giannis94 View Post
    Bucks vs raptors in the ECF. Mark my words.

  2. #2
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    I think he's over-rated as a go to guy, but if there was a definition of 3-d in the dictionary might as well stick his face next to the definition. His impact as a complementary player is better then lower end number one options so **** gets cloudy. I'd put him somewhere in the 20's for me (which is where low end number 1's are).

  3. #3
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    This should a fun thread

  4. #4
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    To his defense, I think psychologically engagement matters. With KD here maybe he isn't as engaged as before expecting less touches. The more engaged you are the better you play.

  5. #5
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    And I'd also like to note that this is NOT an attempt to troll Warriors fans. I've seen plenty of non-Warriors fans on PSD and elsewhere make similar comments about Klay. Mods, please do not take this down, and I hope we can have a civil conversation about this with it devolving into a shouting match.

    Quote Originally Posted by Giannis94 View Post
    Bucks vs raptors in the ECF. Mark my words.

  6. #6
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    this is a difficult one for me b/c I think Klay has skills that we don't see that often in GS. Is that a reflection of his role or his play? I'm not sure. his fg% as a finisher is pretty eye opening. anyway good thread
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raps08-09 Champ View Post
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Heediot View Post
    To his defense, I think psychologically engagement matters. With KD here maybe he isn't as engaged as before expecting less touches. The more engaged you are the better you play.
    can he engage and maintain on that level? Even with the skills some guys just aren't that type of player. Rasheed Wallace comes to mind. Great skills on both ends, played hard and smart, but wasn't suited to be "the guy" on offense IMO
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raps08-09 Champ View Post
    My dick is named 'Ewing'.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Heediot View Post
    To his defense, I think psychologically engagement matters. With KD here maybe he isn't as engaged as before expecting less touches. The more engaged you are the better you play.
    Yep. I mean if you take Klay and put him on the Rockets instead of Harden I feel like he would do better than people think. Since getting KD his role on the warriors has been marginalized. And yet he always comes up clutch in the post-season.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Heediot:32097848
    I think he's over-rated as a go to guy, but if there was a definition of 3-d in the dictionary might as well stick his face next to the definition. His impact as a complementary player is better then lower end number one options so **** gets cloudy. I'd put him somewhere in the 20's for me (which is where low end number 1's are).
    This is pretty much where I stand.

  10. #10
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    I'd probably go 18-24 range, which is still pretty damn good.

    He's the 4th best player on the Warriors and I think Draymond at best is in the 12-16 range so Klay has to be behind him.

  11. #11
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    Klay was overrated until he became a beast of an iso defender in the playoffs. Now he can go no wrong in my book. He knows his role and plays it to perfection. Zero ego. If you're comparing his #'s to other #1 options it will paint a certain picture, but he's the perfect chess piece.

  12. #12
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    I ranked Klay below Butler in that other thread too. I think Klay is ranked where he is more because of the weakness of the position in the NBA right now than anything else.

    Klay's man defense is elite, his team defense is just okay. He's a pure shooter but he's not what I'd call a scorer in that he doesn't really score in a lot of different ways or create for himself or others.

    He's grown as a ball handler and passer in the last few years but it's not really reflected much in his stats, but he's always been kind of less than he should be in those areas and in rebounding.

    I think if he was on a team that needed more of him he'd grow to fill those roles better but on THIS team he's maximizing the main skills they want him to use.

    A BIG thing about Klay that hasn't been mentioned is his mentality ... how many multi-time all-stars would be just fine being the 4th man on a team? Klay is steady and easy as a teammate ... he does what the coach asks, he doesn't ever cause friction or trouble and he works hard at whatever the coach tells him to do. I think that comes from his Dad being a hyper-critical guy and Klay's response was to be hard on himself and work hard while just letting the rest of it just wash over him. That's not something that shows up in any stats and is hard to evaluate but it's still a critical aspect of him as a member of a team.
    MacLean's Law: Everywhere you go there will be a jerk. Corrolary: If you go somewhere by yourself you become a jerk.

    I don't care where anyone chooses to go in free agency. I really don't. Yes, KD "broke" the NBA for a year or two, but I can't blame him for going to the team that fit what he wanted.

    The worst part about the Warriors winning is that now I can't have an opinion without being a "homer" or a "hater". It used to be that dialogue had merit independent of accusations.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scoots View Post
    I ranked Klay below Butler in that other thread too. I think Klay is ranked where he is more because of the weakness of the position in the NBA right now than anything else.

    Klay's man defense is elite, his team defense is just okay. He's a pure shooter but he's not what I'd call a scorer in that he doesn't really score in a lot of different ways or create for himself or others.

    He's grown as a ball handler and passer in the last few years but it's not really reflected much in his stats, but he's always been kind of less than he should be in those areas and in rebounding.

    I think if he was on a team that needed more of him he'd grow to fill those roles better but on THIS team he's maximizing the main skills they want him to use.

    A BIG thing about Klay that hasn't been mentioned is his mentality ... how many multi-time all-stars would be just fine being the 4th man on a team? Klay is steady and easy as a teammate ... he does what the coach asks, he doesn't ever cause friction or trouble and he works hard at whatever the coach tells him to do. I think that comes from his Dad being a hyper-critical guy and Klay's response was to be hard on himself and work hard while just letting the rest of it just wash over him. That's not something that shows up in any stats and is hard to evaluate but it's still a critical aspect of him as a member of a team.
    That's not usually something that is considered when it comes to talking about the better player. Him falling in line instead of trying to take charge would usually be a bad thing when ranking the best players but would be a good thing when ranking best supporting players.

  14. #14
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    I don't know what the answer to the question is but I don't have the stones to question the improvement of a guy who plays his part sublimely and within the best functioning unit arguably in the history of the game. That's gall.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nycericanguy View Post
    well unfortunately it looks like you were right about Bargs...

    but hopefully we can use his expiring, if not at least we unloaded Novak's deal...

  15. #15
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    Harden and Butler are on another level, in case that needs to be stated. But Klay fits his role as a 2nd/3rd option offensively better than any player of our generation due in large part to his demeanor and willingness to sacrifice for titles. Again, the ultimate chess piece.

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