The NBA has kicked off their celebratory 75th season and has recently released a list of the league’s 75 greatest players. Over the course of time, the game has evolved to the point where the three-point shot has never been more important.
While the majority of the credit will go towards Golden State Warriors sharpshooter Steph Curry who made the list, his teammate who shares the same backcourt, Klay Thompson, should be on that list as well. Is there any doubt about this?
Thompson is a three-time world champion. He’s played in the NBA All-Star Game five times. He is one-half of the “Splash Brothers” tandem with Curry. Despite the importance of his role during the Warriors’ title run, Thompson was snubbed off the NBA Top 75 list.
You can make the argument that Thompson should have his name put on that list instead of a few players who should not have. Thompson himself was not a happy camper when he found out that he did not make the list, taking to Twitter to express his frustration.
“Winning isn’t everything to some people like it is to me I guess,” Thompson said. “Maybe I’m just naive in my ability to play basketball, but in my head, I’m top 75 all time.”
When evaluating other players on the list, Thompson has a strong case to be a player who should replace players. Thompson not only has the talent level, but his overall accomplishments surpass players like Ray Allen and Reggie Miller.
Miller and Allen have very similar playing styles to Thompson. However, only Allen comes close to matching Thompson’s resume. Miller has a career average of 18.2 points per game with three rebounds and three assists per game in 18 seasons. He made five NBA All-Star appearances and didn’t get a sniff at a championship.
Allen averaged 18.9 points per game with four rebounds and three assists per game. Allen is also the current leader in 3-pointer makes (2,973). He was a 10 time NBA All-Star and won two titles.
Despite the resumes and incredible accomplishments of the two Hall of Famers, Thompson’s accomplishments pass both of these players. Thompson has averages of around 19.5 points, three rebounds, two assists per game. That’s not to mention that Thompson shoots and makes 41.9 percent of his field goals.
Though he has not played as long as Miller and Allen, Thompson already is averaging around the same numbers and is arguably a Top 5 shooter all time. Although he has missed the last two seasons because of injuries, making five NBA All-Star appearances in11 seasons is no small feat.
The most important aspect of Thompson’s accomplishments is he has won three NBA championships already in his career. Coaches around the league also believe Thompson is qualified to be on this list.
“Just based on winning, and two-way basketball, and everything that really matters more than statistics, and anything related to numbers. What matters is if you’re winning championships, then that’s what counts,” said Golden State head coach Steve Kerr.
Kerr who has played with or against several players who made the top 75 list knows firsthand the talent and the accomplishments needed to be on the list. Thompson has three championships compared to Allen’s two and Miller’s zero rings.
Thompson has accomplished more than either Miller or Allen, players he has modeled his game after.
Without Thompson, the Warriors dynasty would have never taken place. Curry is still a Hall of Fame player without Thompson. But does he change the history of the game without his backcourt mate? Does Curry even win those three championships without Thompson?
This is like saying that former Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Terry Bradshaw won those five Super Bowls without Hall of Famers Lynn Swan and John Stallworth aiding in that cause. Does Kareen Abdul Jabbar (six NBA championships) win those extra five titles without Earvin “Magic” Johnson creating his wizardry on the basketball court for the Los Angeles Lakers?
I think not.
Curry and Thompson are one of the greatest backcourt duos in league history. You can not have one on the top 75 players list without the other. With his amount of accomplishments, Thompson deserves to be on the list of the Top 75 greatest basketball players of all time. Both Allen and Miller are deserving to be on that list, but there should have been room to add Thompson.
Featured Image Caption: April 21, 2019 – Splash Brother No. 2. Golden State Warriors shooting guard Klay Thompson in warmups against the Los Angeles Clippers in second-round action of the 2019 NBA playoffs. Photo credit: Mark Hammond/News4usonline