Klay Thompson’s rank in the ESPN.com NBA Player Rankings was no slam dunk this year. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
ESPN.com has been running an ongoing NBA Rank article that is basically a countdown of the top 500 NBA players today. To rank the players, ESPN.com uses about 100 different experts who each rank every player on a 1-10 scale. They then take the average that each player received from the experts to determine where the players land in the rankings.
When it comes to the ranking that Klay Thompson received this year compared to last year, I have an issue.
Heading into his sophomore campaign, Thompson was ranked as the 135th best player in the NBA.
Heading into his third year in the league, Thompson is ranked as the 60th best player in the NBA.
The only explanation I can come up with is that he has gained notoriety after a few stellar playoff performances. The Warriors as a whole received a lot more publicity and marketability after they rode their explosive offense to the second round of the NBA Playoffs. Because the public has seen more of Klay Thompson and his shooting ability, there seems to be some misconception that he vastly improved his game between his rookie and sophomore seasons.
I would beg to differ.
Let’s take a look at Thompson’s first two seasons statistically per 36:
Season A: 18.5 points, 3.0 assists, 3.6 rebounds, 1.1 steals, 0.4 blocks, 44.3% FG, 41.4% 3FG, 86.8% FT, 14.9 PER
Season B: 16.7 points, 2.2 assists, 3.8 rebounds, 1.1 steals, 0.6 blocks, 42.2% FG, 40.1% 3FG, 84.1% FT, 12.7 PER
It would make sense to assume that Season A was Thompson sophomore campaign, but in fact, that was his rookie season. As you can see Thompson was more effective in nearly every important statistical category during his rookie season. However, even though his play seemed to drop off after his slightly disappointing sophomore season, Thompson became more of a household name after the Warriors playoff run, allowing the public to form the misconception that Thompson developed into a stud shooting guard when in reality, he may have plateaued or even regressed slightly in his second season.
This isn’t to say that Klay Thompson will never develop into one of the best shooting guards in the NBA. Now that he will not have to chase around the opponents best offensive perimeter player (this will be Andre Iguodala’s responsibility), Thompson will be able to focus more of his energy on the offensive end, and I expect his numbers to reflect this.
Maybe by this time next season, Thompson will be deserving of the 60 spot in the NBA rankings, but as of right now, I don’t think he developed the way I hoped he would and is undeserving of a 75 spot jump in ESPN.com’s NBA rankings.