Golden State Warrior shooting guard Klay Thompson is clearly one of the best guards in the NBA, arguably one of the best shooters of all-time. His combination of defensive ability, scoring acumen, and overall playmaking skills make him a prized commodity in today's game. He is one of a select few players who can truly shoot the three from anywhere on the court, regardless of who is guarding him, with hands in his face, and varying degrees of difficulty.
That being said, when the All-NBA teams were released, on Thursday, the Splash Brother was noticeably absent from each of the three levels of league-wide honor. Each team of five includes two guards, two forwards, and a center. With Thompson playing the shooting guard position, there are six open slots he can possibly fit into. However, the media panel who selects the members of the All-NBA first, second, and third teams chose to leave the All-Star sharpshooter off the elite list.
According to ESPN's Nick Friedell, Klay was in utter disbelief that he didn't make it onto an All-NBA team, as he happened to be filled-in on his "snubbing" while on-camera:
"Klay Thompson found out he hadn't been selected to an All-NBA team while he was being interviewed by reporters Thursday, and the shock on the face of the Golden State Warriors' normally unflappable swingman told the story...
'I didn't? It already came out?' Thompson said after Thursday's practice, before being told that he just missed being selected for the third team. 'I mean, that's cool and all, but like when you go to five straight Finals -- I respect those guys, but when you go to five straight, it takes more than just a couple All-NBA guys. It's like an all-time team, but whatever. I'd rather win a championship than be third-team All-NBA, so it's all good.'"
Not only does this mean that Thompson, a consistently under-appreciated and underrated performer, has been undeniably disrespected by those in the media who failed to vote for him, but this will most likely cost the All-Star wing somewhere in the neighborhood of $30 million on his next contract. You see, the NBA's five-year supermax (worth $221 million) contracts are directly tied to a player's making an All-NBA team. A player is only eligible for up to a five-year/$191 million contract, if he is not selected to be an All-NBA member.
Fellow Warrior Kevin Durant was also selected for the All-NBA second team.
Which guards were selected ahead of Klay?
All-NBA First Team:
Stephen Curry: 27.3 ppg (5th), 43.7% 3pt (4th), 91.6% ft (2nd)
James Harden: 36.1 ppg (1st), 7.5 apg (8th), 2.03 spg (2nd)
All-NBA Second Team:
Kyrie Irving: 23.8 ppg (16th), 6.9 apg (t-12th), 1.54 spg (13th)
Damian Lillard: 25.8 ppg (11th), 6.9 apg (t-12th), 91.2% ft (3rd)
All-NBA Third Team:
Russell Westbrook: 22.9 ppg (19th), 10.7 apg (1st), 11.1 rpg (10th), 1.95 spg (4th)
Kemba Walker: 25.6 ppg (t-12th), 5.9 apg (t-21st)
***Klay Thompson: 21.5 ppg (20th), 40.2% 3pt (t-22nd)
Plenty of NBA insiders will tell you that Klay brings something intangible to his team. His ability to guard four of the five positions on the floor, often times drawing the assignment of checking the opposing team's top playmaker, is almost unparalleled around the league. Especially when you lump-in his ability to shoot the lights out and put the ball on the floor, knifing inside to the rim, he should register as one of the game's most elite guards.
Photo: Keith Allison/Wikimedia