Klay Thompson's the other dude. You see, there's that Stephen Curry guy, All-World Point Guard, Greatest Shooter In the History of Basketball, Three Hesies Dude, and all-around great person. He's what drives the nickname Splash Brothers. There's Curry and then there's the other shooter lurking in the shadows. Despite a picture-perfect jump shot and the enormous volume of sinking threes, Thompson is oft-criticized in these circles and largely forgettable as a star type before the last season began.
Then Kevin Love happened. Team USA happened. The unadulterated love and support from every coach happened. Klay Thompson jet-skiing in the Mediterranean happened. Klay Thompson and Hannah Stocking happened. Max Contract Klay Thompson is about to happen. What a couple of months for the guy who had a missed layup become a play on his name.
For all the grief given to Klay Thompson (especially from yours truly), his ascension to suddenly becoming the best shooting guard in the world has been fascinating. What?! Here are excerpts from Sam Amick's piece on Klay Thompson in USA Today:
"I don't want (Los Angeles Lakers star) Kobe Bryant to go crazy, but there's some uncertainty as to who he is right now (because of injuries that limited him to six games last season)," Duffy told USA TODAY Sports. "But I think Klay Thompson right now is the top two-way, two-guard in basketball. I think when you look at his body of work, when you look at what he accomplished guarding point guards on a regular basis (last season), I think it's pretty clear."
Truth be told, he may be right.
The first graf comes from his agent. The hyperbole is necessary and inviting given he's trying to capture the most money he can for his client. The last sentence comes from Sam Amick and it's not an opinion that is as crazy or virtually unsaid as it was a season ago. If Joe Lacob and Bob Myers wanted to depress the price tag on Thompson's extension, they overwhelmingly failed. Here's thinking that they never even cared. The bluff in the Kevin Love trade might have led to the present scenario; a situation where the Golden State Warriors were willing to unload Klay but only after they built his stature and reputation as a stud two-way guard but failed in hindsight when LeBron James ruined the entire gamble, leading to management pricing themselves in. Even if that were true, Lacob still seems ecstatic about paying as much money as necessary to Thompson. And that's coming before the October 31 deadline, wherein he'll become a restricted free agent next offseason.
"We traded an excellent guard freeing up a starting spot for him and, as is known, despite many requests from other teams over the last few years, we have continued to bet on his continued development. We are very proud that he is a Warrior and also of his major contribution on this year's USA Basketball team. We are looking forward to a great year for Klay, the Splash Brothers and the Warriors."
Kind of hilarious that an owner actually uses the Splash Brothers moniker but we'll let dorky people be dorky.
To recap: Klay Thompson started the offseason without a long-term extension in the Bay Area, on a team that fits his skillset to perfection, without a Team USA gold medal, and rising popularity from all corners of management across the NBA. I was surprised to hear just how much Coach Krzyzewski was infatuated with his two-way-ness. There's no point delving into the flaws and whether all this hurts the Warriors in the long-term or not. It's been an offseason of perfection for the Golden State Warriors starting shooting guard and Splash Brother. We can say that now without immediately thinking of Stephen Curry.
Also, he owns the greatest goatee ever. And by greatest, I mean creepiest. Kudos, Klay.