Golden State Warriors shooting guard Klay Thompson has been a silent assassin for head coach Mark Jackson. In fact, he’s put together a three-year stretch at the start of his NBA career that has never been done before.
According to CBS Sports’ Matt Moore, the lesser-appreciated Splash Brother became the first player in league history to make 500 three-point attempts over the course of his first three seasons.
Kyle Korver is second with 491 triples, followed by Ben Gordon (455), Nick Van Exel (450) and Kirk Hinrich (415), according to Basketball Reference.
The Washington State product drained 111 threes as a rookie and 211 as a sophomore in 2012-13. He sits at 178 and counting so far this season.
According to NBA.com via Twitter, Thompson ranks second in the NBA in points per touch:
Most Points Per Touch (*Min. 20 Touches/Game & 20 GP) #FridayLeaderboard 1. Durant: 0.47 2. Klay: 0.46 3. Pekovic: 0.44— NBA.com/Stats (@nbastats) March 14, 2014
While the majority of praise in the Golden State Warriors’ young and exciting backcourt goes to All-Star starter Stephen Curry, Thompson has been remarkably consistent from long range.
During his NBA career, he has notched a career average of 40.8 percent from downtown. His 41.2 percent clip from deep in 2013-14 ranks him 17th in the league, tied with San Antonio Spurs point guard Patty Mills and Toronto Raptors swingman Terrence Ross.
Moore put Thompson's ridiculous numbers into context by writing the following:
If you average out to 200 [threes] per year, let's give him a generous 15 seasons compared to Ray Allen's 17-and-counting. That puts him at 3,000 made three-pointers at age 36, giving him the all-time record.
Obviously, this is preposterously early and there are a million things that could change. But it does show you the ridiculous pace Thompson is on and how special of a shooting talent he is.
The NBA's top three shooters from distance in terms of total makes are Allen (2,939 and counting), Reggie Miller (2,560) and Jason Kidd (1,988), per Basketball Reference.
Given that durability is an extremely prevalent factor in breaking all-time records and that one bad injury could derail Thompson's shot, I'm hesitant to say he has a legitimate chance at this juncture—but he is on pace.
Although Thompson has showed off tremendous shooting prowess to this point, Coach Jackson will need him to shoulder a significant scoring load in the 2014 playoffs (assuming Golden State hangs on and gets there).
He averaged 15.2 points per game in the 2013 postseason—shooting 42.4 percent from beyond the arc in the process. However, he failed to reach double-digit points three times in 12 games.
His 34-point, 14-rebound explosion in Game 2 against the Spurs was a promising sign, but that doesn’t ensure success this time around.
As long as the Splash Brothers stay within themselves, take good shots and limit turnovers, there’s no reason the Dubs can’t make a playoff run in 2014.