Proof That Klay Thompson Is a Legitimate Starter for the Golden State Warriors

James PearsonCorrespondent IJuly 27, 2012

Proof That Klay Thompson Is a Legitimate Starter for the Golden State Warriors

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    By trading away Monta Ellis, the Golden State Warriors knew what they had in rookie Klay Thompson.

    A highly skilled shooting guard who is one of the up-and-coming players not only on his team, but in the entire NBA.

    While Thompson's play spoke for itself late last season, what has transpired after the season proves that he is legit.

5. He Made the NBA All-Rookie Team

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    Not only did he make the NBA All-Rookie team, but he finished fourth in the voting. Not bad for the 11th pick who averaged just 24 minutes a game.

    With that honor, Thompson is now grouped with the likes of Kyrie Irving, Ricky Rubio and Kenneth Faried of the 2012 NBA draft class—all of whom are expected to be major players in the NBA.

    Thompson's place on the NBA All-Rookie team proves that he was not only the right pick at No. 11, but also that he should be a starter in the NBA.

4. His NBA Summer League Play

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    Thompson only played two games in the NBA Summer League, but he dominated in his limited action.

    He set the summer league record for three-point percentage at 72 percent, while making 10 threes in the process (via CSNBayArea.com). He also shot 52 percent from the floor to go with nine assists and 12 rebounds.

    After those two dominating performances, the Warriors didn't play him anymore. Good idea because he was starting to look like the Monstars playing against the Looney Tunes before they kidnapped Michael Jordan.

    It just wasn't fair to the other teams.

3. He Was Selected as the US Select Team

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    Not only did Thompson make the U.S. Select Team, but he didn't need any help doing so.

    Warriors general manager Bob Myers stated that:

    "He didn't even have to lobby to get Thompson on the U.S. Select Team" (via SFGate.com).

    Impressive.

    Considering the caliber of players selected, his selection was quite an honor. His place on this team also proves that he is truly one of the promising up-and-coming players in the NBA.

    His experience playing for the U.S. team will prove invaluable for him.

2. Kobe Bryant Likes His Game

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    When one of the best players in NBA history has something positive to say about you, it's kind of a big deal.

    When asked about Thompson after a summer league practice, Kobe Bryant had this to say:

    "I like Klay a lot. He's a fine young player who is hungry to continue to work and continue to improve" (via Marcus Thompson II of the Mercury News).

    The high praise is not just from Bryant, either. Thompson left an impression on all of the Team USA members, proving that not only is he a legitimate starter in the NBA, but a potential All-Star.

1. His Team Believes in Him

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    The Warriors truly believe in Thompson, and they showed their faith in him in the middle of his rookie year by trading their best player away.

    The Warriors would not have traded away Ellis if they didn't think Thompson was going to be a legitimate starter in this league. Sure, the Ellis trade looks great now, but there was a time when it caused uproar.

    As a full-time starter, Thompson should be in line for very productive seasons for years to come.