Let Klay Shoot

by February 01, 2013

by Eduardo Maisonet, III / @edthesportsfan

On a Thursday night in Oakland, I walked into the Oracle Arena and was greeted with some unfortunate news. The respective faces of the Golden State Warriors and the Dallas Mavericks would be nowhere to be found on this night as both Stephen Curry (ankle) and Dirk Nowitzki (adductor strain) would be held out of the game. Admittedly, my enthusiasm for the game was in decline and I was just hopeful for a competitive game. Little did I know that the newest member of the Jack’em Joe All-Stars would provide me a thorough amount of entertainment and glee while helping his team to a tough win over a conference foe.

Klay Thompson’s thirst to shoot is insatiable. My desire to keep my eyes focused on anything other than him running around the court, hoping to get a sliver of room to get his jumper off was unfazed. Like Garfield’s desire to eat only lasagna, nothing else will do. Three things stood out to me after Thompson’s performance in a 100-97 Warriors win over the Mavericks, allow me to share:

1. Klay Thompson almost put up an amazing statline on Thursday night: I was thoroughly disappointed at the end of the night. The nerve of this guy Thompson, ruining a perfectly good looking stat line the way he did. WHO TOLD THE MAN HE COULD GET A DAMN REBOUND? THE NERVE OF HIM! The man went roughly 46 minutes without amassing a rebound or an assist, all while tallying 27 points and carrying the scoring load in the process. It seems like the bench keenly understood what was going on in front of all of us:

“Richard Jefferson was saying to us on the bench that Klay is probably the closest to Ray Allen that we’ll get to see with his ability to set his feet. We see him in practice, always getting his shots up, even from way deep because….well, like he says, you never know. Seeing him get off isn’t a surprise anymore, we expect it.” — Warriors reserve Kent Bazemore speaking on Klay Thompson

2. Klay Thompson might really be Dale Ellis 2.0: In the post-game discussion with head coach Mark Jackson, I asked him who did Klay remind him of most in his playing days. His first response was Reggie Miller, but he retreated a bit and said that Reggie’s ability to hit any big shot when the lights were on set him way apart. The next comparison he offered was Allan Houston. Similar body type, great form on the jumper and a consistently that is only comparable by a few select players in the League.

Of course, me being the stubborn person that I am, I wasn’t satisfied. I had another long-range assassin built up in my mind, and I shared that thought with coach.

“Hey Coach Jackson, personally I see more of Dale Ellis in Klay than anybody.”

Coach Jackson’s eyes got big and co-signed my entire thought completely. “Yes, include that in my list of answers. Dale Ellis was a bad man! Bad man indeed.” Those were Jackson’s exact words. Like the former color commentator was revitalized for a moment and the thought of being a coach was the furthest thing from his mind.

Ellis and Thompson, both shooting guards with no conscience, with measurables that are exactly the same (6-7 and 205 pounds) and a reliance on the three pointer has proven to be their trademark, commanded respect from deep anytime they were on the floor. Ellis finished his career 8th on the all-time three-point field goals list, and I don’t see why Klay couldn’t rank as high by the time his career is finished.

3. Klay Thompson (and Stephen Curry) should be in the 2013 NBA Three-Point Contest: Thompson is currently third in the NBA in made three-point field goals and second in attempts, all while shooting 39 percent from distance. This is all the more astounding when Stephen Curry is second in three-pointers made and shooting just as many from beyond the arc. If you talk to players who talk about the best shooters on their respective squads, you hear stories about the exploits of their top marksmen. Their ability to be so prolific from long range creates these stories that state, “Man, there have been practices where neither Klay or Steph will miss during an entire session.” You hear from one player, then another…and another, and you at least begin to buy into the gospel.

So, hopefully the basketball gods (I.e. David Stern) will allow us to see both Klay and Steph in the three-point shootout. We know neither will get tired of shooting, and I’m sure it’s a competition both have talked about for a long time. For now, we need to see if we can get Klay to put up more statlines that have less rebounds and assists, and more scoring. Especially from long range. OK, maybe not, but it seems cool in a weird way. More points please Klay? More points.

Eddie Maisonet has been a contributor to SLAM since 2010. He is the Editor-In-Chief of The Sportsfan Journal and loves women who wear big hoop earrings. Follow him on Twitter to keep up with more of his shenanigans and tomfoolery.