Steph Curry and Klay Thompson Backcourt Will Be Warriors' Best Ever
Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson are a dynamic team in the backcourt and are arguably the best shooting backcourt in Golden State Warriors history. The potential of these two ranks them probably at the top of the list of backcourt duos.
Their propensity to put up and drain three-pointers has led to the name of the “Splash Brothers,” which has hit Twitter by storm.
Curry has ditched most of the ankle problems and become a legitimate playmaker. He has put together an All-Star-caliber first half and has completely taken the reigns as team leader. His clean-cut image was embraced by signing a four-year, $44 million deal that now looks like it was a bargain.
Curry, with the help of this year’s deep Warriors squad, has shown why he is one of the top point guards in the game.
As you can see from the highlights, Curry has improved as a defender, as he picks the pocket of the Charlotte Bobcats’ Kemba Walker and goes to the hoop for the score.
Curry does a nice job floating in the air and uses his body to put in a reverse layup. Curry also shows off his shooting skills with a couple of three-pointers. Curry is turning into a threat on both offense and defense, but most of all, he is becoming the team leader that the Warriors have been missing for years.
His counterpart, Klay Thompson, is another deadly shooter just like Curry, but he is probably the best stop-and-pop shooter in the game. Thompson has one of the sweetest strokes in the NBA, and he is no longer just a one-trick pony.
As you can see from the highlights, he has a lot more facets to his game.
Klay can shoot from anywhere, but he also can roll off screens to score the ball. He's done a lot better job this season of penetrating, something that he picked up while playing for the national team during the summer versus Kobe Bryant.
You could also see the defensive block that he put in there. Thompson is doing a better job filling the lanes and not getting beat. It is only his second year in the league, so with more experience, he should be getting better as he learns the game.
With the quick background on the current Golden State backcourt, how do the Splash Brothers pair up with the best guard combos of the past?
Baron Davis and Monta Ellis
The most recent guard combo that was newsworthy was the combination of Baron Davis and Monta Ellis on the “We Believe” team. Every recent Warriors fan can remember them surprising the No. 1 seed Dallas Mavericks and then seeing Baron Davis posterize Andre Kirilenko in the next round versus the Utah Jazz.
Since they played under Don Nelson, they were his type of run-and-gun offense, which was score as many points as possible, so they wouldn’t lose.
As you can see from this highlight, both Davis and Ellis liked the flashier side of the offense.
Ellis receives the pass in the last of the chain of passes and goes in for a layup. Instead of laying it softly into the hole, Ellis sees Davis trailing and puts the ball up hard enough to be a glass pass to Davis for the easy slam.
Both players could shoot the ball well, make dazzling plays but were not the best defenders. Davis left the team early to sign with the Clippers after having a few injuries, and Ellis was part of the blockbuster trade for Andrew Bogut.
Davis was an exciting point guard and explosive scorer when healthy, as he put up 20.1 PPG, 4.4 RPG and 8.1 APG in his four years with the Dubs. Ellis was prolific as a scorer, but he was never the team leader who could help the Warriors progress to the next level.
Curry and Thompson are not as athletic as this duo, but they shoot the ball better and play a little bit more on the defensive end of the court.
Sleepy Floyd and Chris Mullin
For the Warriors fans who have been around a lot longer, Sleepy Floyd and Chris Mullin (before he moved to the small forward position) were another great combination.
As you can see from the dated highlights, Floyd had the ability to take a game over.
The former All-Star guard was in the prime of his career with the Warriors when he put together the spectacular fourth-quarter performance to beat the Lakers. Mullin was the clutch shooter who could drain jumpers whenever he touched the ball.
Floyd was known for being a slashing playmaker who could light up the scoreboard when he turned it on. During the season when they beat the Utah Jazz in the first round of the playoffs and finally lost to the Los Angeles Lakers in this series, Floyd averaged 18.8 PPG and had 10.3 APG.
Chris Mullin had an average of 15.1 PPG, 3.2 APG and 2.2 RPG in his second year as a Warrior and his last as a shooting guard.
The Splash Brothers are equal to Mullin in shooting prowess, but Curry is an overall better player than Floyd. Mullin, like Thompson, was in his second year at the time. Mullin became part of Run TMC and ended up in the Hall of Fame; hopefully Klay can have a career that strong.
Tim Hardaway and Mitch Richmond
The guard unit of Run TMC is probably the toughest competition for Curry and Thompson, as they ran the court better than anyone with the help of small forward and Hall of Famer Chris Mullin.
As you can see from the video, Tim Hardaway was a master with the ball: He could break opponents' ankles with the “killer crossover,” pass the ball to the streaking Mitch Richmond or pull up for a stop-and-pop jumper. When those two hit the court, they electrified the fans in the Bay Area.
Hardaway was more of a playmaker than Curry, but Curry is more of a pure shooter and has a greater all-around skill level. He was the team leader on a set of Warriors teams that almost always made the playoffs and was a threat to go all the way.
Richmond was a former NBA Rookie of the Year who could shoot, slash to the basket for a slam dunk, and fill the lanes well. He was also almost as deadly as Klay Thompson with the three-point shot. Mitch was so smooth that he would put defenses to sleep. His surprising trade to the Sacramento Kings for the rights to Billy Owens stopped the run of this legendary offense.
The Splash Brothers are not at the level of the TM part of Run-TMC, but they are getting close. Curry and Thompson should continue to improve, and a taste of playoff success will only make them better.
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