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Mark Jackson: Klay Thompson is a top-five shooting guard

Nov 18, 2013, 11:50 AM EDT

Utah Jazz v Golden State Warriors

Warriors coach Mark Jackson has never been shy about praising his players, once calling Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson the best shooting backcourt of all time.

It’s also becoming increasingly popular to claim high rankings among shooting guards. Just by chance, that’s the weakest position in the NBA right now, so marginal players at the position rank higher than usual.

So of course, Jackson took this opportunity to make a bold claim about Thompson.

Jackson on Thompson, via Marcus Thompson II of the San Jose Mercury News:

“He’s a top-five (shooting) guard in this league,” Jackson says, “and I’m being respectful.”

Actually, that’s not so bold.

As a point of reference, ESPN’s #NBARank projected before the season began Klay Thompson would be a top-five shooting guard. Here are the five shooting guards who appeared in the top 60 of all players:

4. James Harden

18. Dwyane Wade

25. Kobe Bryant

59. Joe Johnson

60. Klay Thompson

Since, Thompson has exceeded most expectations.

He’s averaging 20.9 points per game and shooting 55 percent from the field and 51 percent on 3-pointers. His PER, 21.55, ranks behind only Kevin Martin and James Harden among shooting guards.

All things considered, I’d rank Thompson fourth – behind Harden, Wade and Kobe.

Thompson has actually played better so far this season than Wade and Kobe (who obviously hasn’t played at all), but that’s a small sample and the two older players have been so good for so long that they deserve the benefit of the doubt.

But I think Thompson has actually passed Johnson without anyone catching him from behind, though Bradley Beal is within striking distance and Martin looks very good so far.

Really, Jackson is selling Thompson short. Until the coach claims Thompson is better than Kobe, this isn’t that controversial.

  1. mimaiheatdynasty - Nov 18, 2013 at 11:56 AM

    Kobe, Wade, Harden (no defense) , JoeCoolJohnson, Klay, JRsmith, Eric Gordon (when healthy)

    • MLBlogsbig3bosox - Nov 18, 2013 at 12:01 PM

      You must be some prolific shooter yourself.. the rim hurts just by reading your post.

    • bougin89 - Nov 18, 2013 at 1:19 PM

      Personally I would put guys like Jimmy Butler, Bradley Beal, Kevin Martin and maybe Lance Stephenson before guys like JR Smith, Eric Gordon(mainly due to health) and Joe Johnson. Also, how do you value 3 and D guys like Sefolosha and Danny Green over volume scorers?

    • mytthor - Nov 18, 2013 at 8:16 PM

      Can’t give Kobe the 1 spot when you don’t know how well he comes back. after 80 games last year he’s 1 or 2. Just because he CAN play defense at times doesn’t mean he gets credit for that when he refuses to do it anymore.
      JR Smith? Please. Redick is better. MKG better. MCW probably better. Afflalo better. Smith is garbage. Just because he plays in New York and he’s a knucklehead so he gets in the news doesn’t mean he’s any good.

  2. timberwolvesbrisin - Nov 18, 2013 at 12:52 PM

    Putting Kobe as the 25th best player in the league is criminal…

    ESPN trying to be edgy…

  3. unfrozencavemanlawyer2 - Nov 18, 2013 at 1:37 PM

    Geez- I might put Klay 3rd behind Wade and Kobe. Harden is a much better slasher and playmaker- but Klay’s shooting and defense are superior.

    Would any GM in basketball rather have Joe Johnson over Klay Thompson?

    Also- JR SMith belongs nowhere on any list of the best SG’s. Most tats? Yes- best SG’s- no way.

    • money2long - Nov 18, 2013 at 8:03 PM

      can you believe there were people here liking comments about klay’s future only being sixth man worthy ? a guy you bring in the game for spurts of energy ? defense not so good ? like, i couldn’t believe my eyes. with that thinking, i wonder if they don’t believe their eyes at what they’re seeing him do now .

      plus , does anyone wanna revisit the ” who will have a better future in the NBA between klay and barnes? “

  4. azarkhan - Nov 18, 2013 at 2:01 PM

    Hopefully Golden State will be able to keep Curry and Thompson together for their entire career. If they stay healthy, they could easily become one of the best backcourt’s in NBA history, perhaps even challenging the Lakers Jerry West/Gail Goodrich as the top scoring duo in history.

  5. spacemaker101 - Nov 18, 2013 at 2:02 PM

    Yeah why the … Would you put JR Smith in that group lmfao

  6. spacemaker101 - Nov 18, 2013 at 2:03 PM

    Kobe the 25th best player in the league is garbage..

    • antistratfordian - Nov 18, 2013 at 9:16 PM

      The dude just shredded his achilles – what’s your problem? And don’t give me this nonsense about, “Kobe with a torn achilles is still better than…” – no, he’s not.

      Wade dropping to 18th is more offensive because he put up a great year, good numbers, career high FG%, didn’t suffer a major injury, and still dropped 10 spots.

  7. 7invictus7 - Nov 19, 2013 at 7:18 PM

    Wow Neck Kobe & Ignore Ellis? Kevin Martin?

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