OAKLAND (CBS SF) — If Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson needed any extra motivation heading into the NBA Finals it was delivered on Thursday.
Thompson was left off the All-NBA team — a snub not only to his ego but also to his pocketbook. The veteran ‘Splash Brother’ will be a free agent this summer and lost $31 million in potential future earnings because he was left off the list.
Had he been named to any of the three All-NBA squads, Thompson would have been eligible for a five-year, $221 million supermax deal. Now it’s capped at five years and $190 million.
Thompson rolled his eyes when reporters told him that Charlotte’s Kemba Walker was selected over him. The other guards were James Harden, Kyrie Irving, Damian Lillard, Russell Westbrook and teammate Steph Curry.
“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 All-NBA guys (Curry and Kevin Durant),” Thompson said. “Whatever…I would rather win championships than be third team All-NBA. So it’s all good.”
“It is what it is. I can’t control it. Do I think there’s that many guards better than me in the league? No! But that’s the reason while we are still playing.”
When asked how he can handle the slight, Thompson had a one-word answer — “Rings”
Thompson has been an integral part of the Warriors success this post-season, particularly since Durant was injured in Game 5 of the NBA Western Conference semifinals.
In the NBA Western Conference Finals, Thompson averaged 21.5 points, 3.7 rebounds and 3 assists and more than 40 minutes a game in the four-game sweep of Portland.
But Thompson isn’t only an offensive force, his true strength is on the defensive end. He and teammate Draymond Green were named to the second squad of the NBA All-Defensive team.
His versatility is not lost on head coach Steve Kerr.
“When you factor in what he does offensively, I think he (Thompson) covers more ground than anybody in the league,” said the Warriors head coach of Thompson’s constant motion on the court. “The guy is a machine. It’s incredible how he moves offensively and then pursues his man defensively. He usually plays on the ball. Does a lot of switching — guards post men after the switch. The physical stamina that Klay displays is amazing. He leads us in minutes played. He’s just a machine out there.”