Klay Thompson is one of the deadliest shooters the league has ever seen, and he might very well go down as the second-best long-distance gunner of all-time alongside teammate Steph Curry when all is said and done.
But he’s also one of the NBA’s most tenacious defenders. Depending on who you ask, he’s right up there next to Kawhi Leonard in the conversation of the game’s best two-way wings, even if his efforts on that end don’t always bring him the shine that his three-point shooting does.
So at media availability on Tuesday afternoon prior to Game 3, Klay was asked to list the toughest players for him to guard. There were a lot of familiar names that popped up, but one player in particular came to mind first, which shouldn’t come as a surprise given their history of playing against one another on the biggest stage the last several years.
“They’re all unique in their own way,” Thompson said. “All of them aren’t very fun to guard. As a competitor, you love the challenge. I can’t tell you who’s the hardest to guard. I’m happy I don’t have to check Kyrie anymore, that’s for sure. That guy, he is tough. But, LeBron, Kobe, James Harden, Westbrook, Dame Lillard, Kyrie. I mean, we’re so blessed. The league is full of so many great talents who all do things differently and at such a high level that you can’t relax any given night.”
Irving’s absence has certainly made life easier on the Warriors this time around, while conversely being a thorn in the Cavs’ side as they have continuously struggled to find scoring outside of LeBron James and Kevin Love.
Thompson, as he pointed out, still at times has the unenviable task of defending LeBron in this series, making it all the more remarkable that he was somehow able to recover from the high ankle sprain he suffered in Game 1 which he admitted probably would’ve sidelined him much longer had it occurred during the regular season.
The series shifts back to Cleveland for Game 3 on Wednesday night at 9 p.m. E.T. on ABC.