For as much love as Klay Thompson gets for his abilities on the defensive side of the ball, you might be surprised to learn that the slightly less-famous member of The Splash Brothers has never made an All-Defensive Team during his first seven years in the NBA. Despite the Warriors regularly ranking in the top tier of NBA defenses during their current run of four straight NBA Finals appearances, and despite Thompson’s usual assignment against the opposing team’s best guard or wing, he hasn’t earned the accolades the rest of the team thinks he deserves.
“He doesn’t get enough respect for his defense,” Draymond Green told The Bay Area News Group last March. “But his defense is a key part of what we do.”
At shootaround ahead of the Warriors matchup against the San Antonio Spurs on Monday night, Kevin Durant said that Thompsons “deserves” a spot on the All-Defensive Team this season, but if it doesn’t happen, he has a guess as to why.
The voters for NBA All-Defensive first and second teams are currently comprised of 123 media members and broadcasters. NBA head coaches used to make up the voting population, but that was changed ahead of the 2013-2014 season. Many of the Warriors think Thompson’s laid-back demeanor and reputation for being a deadly 3-point shooter has cost him those defensive honors.
“We think he’s great as coaches, but he’s just not a guy that is going to go out, make waves and promote himself,” Warriors assistant coach Ron Adams said. “He has an inner peace to him and an inner calm about him that I think has been very gratifying for me to be a part of. That’s the kind of player I really respect. He lets the game speak for itself.”
Thompson’s teammate Green has made one of the All-Defensive teams four seasons in a row. Perhaps this is the year Thompson finally shows up alongside him.