The Perils for the Nuggets in Emulating the Warriors

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(Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /

If you could single out one of the Warriors as representative of the best of that franchise it would almost certainly be Klay Thompson.

Thompson’s career stats are comparable to backcourt mate and Splash Brother Steph Curry.

For the 2017-18 season, Klay put up numbers consistent with his career stats while Steph saw a dip in production (injury being a factor again for the superstar).

That’s the key to the analysis, while Curry has the highest ceiling on the Warriors squad (and possibly the NBA), he is plagued by inconsistency.  Thompson on the other hand is the poster boy for consistency.

There is a pretty fair comparison to the Nuggets backcourt of Jamal Murray and Gary Harris to be made.  Harris is steady, Murray is streaky.  Harris has quiet confidence, Murray is brash.

This is not a criticism of Jamal.  Unlike Curry he is an ironman, having missed only one game in his two NBA seasons (concussion protocol). It is more an endorsement of his particular set of skills as compared to Curry, the standard for the inventive, lights-out shooting point guard.

Murray (and Harris) will always suffer statistically as guards with Nikola Jokic on the court. The non-traditional wave has served the top-tier teams in the West well.  You aren’t going to beat Golden State or Houston by being just like them.  You have to have an asset that the other team can’t match.

For the Warriors, that’s Klay Thompson.  Did you know Thompson once scored 37 points in a single quarter?  He shot 9/9 from three in that 12 minutes.  Steph may have better highlight plays but we keep coming back to Klay’s consistency.

Other teams can match Steph.  Lillard, Mitchell, Harden, Paul, Murray, Wesbrook, on and on, there are guys that can give you 40 out-of-the-blue.  Whether that 40 takes 40 shots or 15 matters.  That’s why Klay’s consistency is so vital.  Harris doesn’t have Klay’s 3-point accuracy (Gary shoots 37.1% for his career while Klay hits at a 42.2% clip) but his overall shooting percentage eclipses Thompson by just a bit (46.9-45.8). Gary had nearly triple Klay’s steals in 2017, he also posted more assists (194-185).  Thompson had more rebounds.  They are statistically very similar players but more importantly, they are constitutionally similar players.  Both content with letting their backcourt partner put on a show.  They are also both competitive with their backcourt mates.

Comparisons to Thompson are lofty for Harris but the 23 year-old has shown that he’s worthy.

Klay Thompson represents the best of the Warriors dynasty.