From as high as the third tier pre-ACL and Achilles injury, Thompson hit rock bottom as he will enter next season in the fifth tier despite producing better numbers last season compared to the previous season before his injury.
Thompson averaged 21.9 points, 4.1 rebounds and 2.4 assists while hitting a five-year high 41.2% on a career-high 10.6 3-point attempts last season across 69 games. During his ill-fated 2018-19 season campaign, Thompson put up 21.5 points, 3.8 rebounds and 2.4 assists while shooting 40.2% on 7.7 3-point attempts in 78 games.
But for Seth Partnow of The Athletic, who did the NBA Player Tiers, the 33-year-old Thompson is now just one of the “stars still finding ways to contribute at a moderately high level later in their careers.”
Partnow, who also previously worked as director of basketball research for the Milwaukee Bucks, used a multiple-season sample of advanced metrics to arrive at the tiers, which is, he said, more about the players’ championship fitness (playoff competitiveness is relatively more important than regular-season production).
That’s where Thompson’s value hot hit as his playoff production considerably dropped since his injury.
In the last playoffs, Thompson only averaged 18.5 points, his lowest since 2018, and shot 36.8% from long-distance, his worst since his sophomore season.
A mixed bag of players joined Thompson in Tier 5, such as former stars on the declineRussell Westbrook, Mike Conley and Kyle Lowry; some aging veterans like Al Horford, Nikola Vucevic and Malcolm Brogdon; and some up-and-coming players such as his former teammate Jordan Poole; the Knicks’ young trio of RJ Barrett, Immanuel Quickley and Quentin Grimes and former Rookie of the Year Scottie Barnes of the Toronto Raptors.
Klay Thompson Believes Jordan Poole Is a Future All-Star
Thompson has high hopes for Poole, his former teammate who joined him in tier 5 of The Athletic’s NBA Player Tiers.
“Oh, he definitely got an All-Star potential,” Thompson said on the Aug. 7 episode of the Podcast P with Paul George. “You saw it when we made that finals run [in 2022], right? He averaged 18 [points] shooting 50/40/90. Like that’s hard to do.”
“So, I’m excited to watch him and [Kyle Kuzma]. Those are gonna be the swaggiest buckets ever. Now I’m excited for him. Washington got a good one.”
The exorbitant cost of maintaining the Warriors’ dynasty core of Thompson, Stephen Curry and Draymond Green cost them Poole in the face of the new and more restrictive Collective Bargaining Agreement.
The rebuilding Wizards absorbed Poole’s $128 million, four-year contract he signed last summer in exchange for the expiring salary of 11-time All-Star point guard Chris Paul. As a sweetener, the Warriors added their top-20 protected first-round pick in 2030, a 2027 second-round draft selection, Ryan Rollins and cash considerations.
Klay Thompson, Steve Kerr’s Extensions Next on Warriors’ Plate
New Warriors General Manager Mike Dunleavy Jr. is optimistic about the looming extension contract talks with two of their key members, coach Steve Kerr and Thompson, who are entering the final year of their current deals.
“High priority level in terms of getting those guys done,” Dunleavy said on the Dubs Talk podcast this week. “We’ll see. Obviously, there’s always a financial component and (whether) guys want to be here and all that. But, you know, we greatly value them and hope we can work things out.”