Klay Thompson will go down as one of the greatest shooters in NBA history. But the younger half of the Splash Brothers wants to be known as much more than a sharpshooter.
He wants to be known as a great defender, too, which he has become throughout his career with the Warriors. Thompson credits his first coach in the pros, Mark Jackson, with challenging him on that side of the ball.
"Playing for Mark early in my career helped a lot," Thompson said Saturday night while serving as a NBC Sports Bay Area broadcaster during the Warriors' 118-91 win over the Detroit Pistons. "He put me on a lot of really great guards early in my career -- Tony Parker, Kobe, Steve Nash back then -- so I had to chase those guys around for 40 minutes a night.
"It kind of became my job, and I hated being scored on just as much as I love to score."
Thompson has made the NBA's All-Defensive Team just once -- the 2018-19 season -- but many believe he should have received the honor much more than once. When healthy, he not only serves as one of the Warriors' top scorers but also routinely guards one of the opposing team's top scorers as well
As he rehabs for the second straight season, Thompson has loved watching Andrew Wiggins turn into a great two-way player for the Warriors. The former top pick has earned the nickname "Two-way Wiggs" this season, and continues to turn into the player Golden State envisioned when acquiring him from the Minnesota Timberwolves.
"I'm so happy for him and the situation that he's in to play for a great franchise, play with so much talent around him," Thompson said. "Lot on his shoulders in Minnesota and obviously the talent level wasn't the same as it is here, but his ability just to get up, slam it down, stretch the floor and guard your position ... it's what will help us win a championship in the future.
"I can't wait to run the wing with him."