Thursday marked the day that many NBA stars had circled on their calendars. The All-NBA teams were named, and for stars like Klay Thompson who will be free agents this summer $30 million dollars were at stake. During a press conference after the Warriors morning practice, Thompson received the news that he did not make one of the three All-NBA teams.
When Thompson was asked to weigh in on not making the All-NBA team Thompson had this to say:
“ I can’t control it. But do I think there are that many guards in the league better than me? No, but that’s the reason why we’re still playing. So I don’t really want to get into it honestly.”
He goes on to say:
“That’s cool and all, but when you go to five straight finals I respect those guys, but when you go to five straight, it takes more than just a couple of All-NBA guys. I’m on an all-time team. But whatever. I’d rather win a championship than be on All-NBA.”
Thompson averaged 21 points on 46 percent shooting from the field and 41 percent from 3. These numbers and the fact he’s playing on a team that had the best record in the west was definitely good enough for a spot on the third team. The two players who got the nod over Thompson was Kemba Walker and Russell Westbrook.
Russell Westbrook averaged a triple-double for the third straight season but had one of the worst shooting seasons in NBA history.
Kemba Walker had a career year and the Hornets were a disaster with him off the floor. The Hornets finished 39-43 and 9th in the east.
The argument that’s been taking place on social media is that these other two players are more deserving because they play on lesser teams especially Walker, and because Thompson plays with Curry and Durant he is not as deserving. Thompson has been named two All-NBA third teams, but this was prior to Durant’s arrival.
Interesting enough history shows that other Hall of Fame players who were third options did not make an All-NBA team. For example Hall of Farmer James Worthy never made one playing with Magic and Kareem. He only made two after Kareem’s retirement and he was the clear second option. Kevin McHale never made one during his illustrious Hall of Fame Career. Dennis Rodman did not make one playing alongside Jordan and Pippen, even though he was one of the best defenders and rebounders in the game.
So let me get this straight four members of the same team can make All-Star team, but when it comes to All-NBA you cannot as a third option on a great team? I’m confused by this argument.
If he would’ve made one of the three teams he could’ve been in line to sign a 5 year $221 million dollar extension with the Warriors, or a 4 year $190 million dollar extension with another team. For owner Joe Lacob and general manager Bob Meyers this was great news. Although the salary cap for next season has not been released it appears the Warriors will save $30 million dollars in salary and $120 million in luxury taxes. Lacob recently came out and said he feels confident he can keep this team together. Kevin Durant is probably gone at the end of this season so this bolds well for the Warriors hopes of resigning Thompson.
The real issue is being named to one of these teams dictate how much a player can earn. In theory, it was a great idea. The top 15 players should be making the most money, but the problem has become that trying to determine who those players are is totally subjective, and based on votes from the media. This subjective voting couldn’t be more evident when it comes to third-team All-NBA.
You can make a case for Thompson, Walker, and Westbrook and you wouldn’t be wrong. Historically first and second teams are no brainers. Even though this season a strong argument could be made on why Kawhi Leonard should not have been named to the second team due to the number of games he missed. The third team is different there are always two guys who are deserving that don’t make the team. This season Thompson and Bradley Beal fell into this category.
With contracts that can exceed $200 million dollars at stake writers who vote on All-NBA teams should not be deciding players future contracts. There are only a handful of players who should be eligible for the supermax anyway. One way to fix this is to take the players who finish in the top five of the MVP voting.
Those are your superstars anyway and the players who are driving your league. This seasons MVP has not been decided, but more than likely your top five is going to consist of these players. Giannis, Harden, Curry, Durant, Kawhi, and Jokic. This would be a lot more clear cut than the current system, but I can already hear 76ers and Thunder fans screaming hey what about Joel Embiid or Paul George.
Bottom line no system would be perfect, but nobody could argue that the top five MVP finalists are not the best players in the league. But for now, until the next CBA is drafted All-NBA will decide who are the top earners in the league, which means some players are going to be left off. If there is a silver lining in this dark cloud for Thompson, it is he is in-line to make history and win his fourth championship as a key member of an all-time great Warrior team.