Do everything we did, but opposite.
~ Klay Thompson
Quite possibly the best quotable player in the NBA just made his first All-Defensive team. Klay Thompson received enough votes to get on the second team, and was fourth in votes amongst the four guards on the list. And while making the list is great, we still feel like he was snubbed.
Marcus Smart and Eric Bledsoe were the two guards on the first team, which is awesome for them. They are definitely two of the best defensive guards in the league. But let's get some perspective.
Those two guys who made the first team are in the Eastern Conference. Besides Kyrie Irving and Kemba Walker, the next best guard they would have to defend this season would probably be D'Angelo Russel and Trae Young.
Whereas in the Western Conference, Klay Thompson was defending top level competition almost every night in James Harden, CJ McCollum, Paul George, Jamal Murray, Donovan Mitchell, DeMar Derozan, Jrue Holiday, and Luka Doncic. So yeah, there's just a little bit of a difference there.
Now look, a lot of the numbers are in favor of Eric Bledsoe between these two. But they're not drastic enough for us to say that Bledsoe clearly deserved it over Klay Thompson.
Bledsoe had more steals, but Klay had more blocks. The one thing that stands out is the usage rate. Klay was used on the offensive end much more than Bledsoe was. So he was not only playing top level defense on one end, but he was one of the most efficient players on the offensive end.
There is no statistic for the eye test unfortunately. But just watch the difference between these two players and you'll see a slight advantage for Klay. They are both guys who have good size for their positions, but Klay is much faster and can turn a defensive play into an offensive play in a matter of three seconds.
This is probably why Bledsoe got the nod over Klay, because this is not a vote for who plays better on both ends. It's simply a defensive award. But when you consider all the factors that go into being a great NBA player and the level of competition Klay had to face on a night to night basis, the answer is clear.
Klay Thompson should have been on the All-Defensive First Team alongside Marcus Smart.
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