The talent and dominance of the 2016-17 Golden State Warriors was vastly under-appreciated by this year’s All-NBA team vote.
It seems bizarre that no player from the team with the best regular season record and the highest offensive efficiency made the first team, but even more surprising to see one of the team’s strongest players left off the three-team list entirely.
Klay Thompson had another outstanding year with the Warriors this season, retaining his reputation as two-way trouble for any opponent. Even with the adjustment of adding Kevin Durant to the Golden State lineup, Thompson found ways to shine on both ends of the floor and contribute to his team’s stunning success.
Voters, however, chose DeMar DeRozan over Thompson as the shooting guard for the All-NBA Third Team.
To be fair, DeRozan did have a stellar season with Toronto, carrying the Raptors through the second round postseason play with a career-high 27.3 points per game. DeRozan bested Thompson in points, rebounds and assists per game, but Thompson’s impact this season cannot be properly delineated by the stat sheet.
Thompson, too, hit a career-high for average points per game, coming in at 22.3 this year. In addition, he shot 46.8 percent from the field and 41.4 percent from distance, better than DeRozan in both categories.
Perhaps the voters forgot about Thompson’s 60-point game back in December, the only instance in NBA history where a player reached 60 points in under 30 minutes on the court (Thompson did it in 29). That night against the Pacers, Thompson was on track to match Wilt Chamberlin’s unprecedented 100-point game.
Although Thompson’s offensive totals are lower than those of DeRozan, the differences in team dynamic between the Warriors and Raptors must also be taken into account. DeRozan essentially had free reign with Toronto as the clear star of the team, allowing him to take more shots and control more of the play.
Thompson, on the other hand, shared the floor with superstar teammates like Durant, Stephen Curry and Draymond Green, making Thompson’s numbers more impressive as he destroyed the popular belief that he would lose value on the new and improved Golden State roster.
The deciding factor that should have placed Thompson over DeRozan for the Third Team bid was Thompson’s defensive dominance. Throughout the season, Thompson was tasked with guarding some of the league’s best scorers from Damian Lillard to Russell Westbrook.
It’s hard to imagine the Warriors reaching 67 wins without Thompson’s contributions.
Thompson surely had some quiet nights and streaky sections throughout the year, but looking at his overall performance, it seems the voters overlooked a well-deserving guard when selecting this year’s All-NBA teams.
If you would like to receive an email each time a new Golden State Warriors article is published, fill out our email notification form.