B.J. Armstrong Has Klay Thompson over LeBron, Kawhi Excelling Most in Jordan Era

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistMay 18, 2020

Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson celebrates the team's win over the Houston Rockets in Game 6 of a second-round NBA basketball playoff series Friday, May 10, 2019, in Houston. Golden State won 118-113, winning the series. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
Eric Gay/Associated Press

The NBA game has changed over the past 30 years, but former All-Star B.J. Armstrong thinks Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson is the current player most suited to excel during the Michael Jordan era.

Armstrong broke down his mindset Monday on ESPN's First Take:

"One the players I think would excel most in that era would be Klay Thompson. Klay Thompson, I think, is equipped to play in that era because of the way he plays. He's a big guard, I think he has some physicality of the game and he played the game in the way that they all played. We ran plays where the 2-guard had to provide spacing and you had to be able to take your matchup. I think he was big enough to take that matchup every single night. I just think he would be a player that would fit into that era beautifully because of how he plays the game now. I think it translates."

Armstrong even picked Thompson over some more high-profile stars of the league.

"You look at LeBron James, you look at Kawhi Leonard, you look at these guys, but Klay Thompson to me is a player that I said: You know what? He was a prototypical 2 guard that would fit very nicely into that era and the way they played the game back then."

Thompson certainly has good size for a shooting guard at 6'6", the same listed height as Jordan.

Armstrong spent parts of five seasons playing alongside Jordan, winning three NBA titles with the Bulls from 1991-93.

Though Thompson isn't quite Jordan, he has still proved to be an elite scorer while averaging at least 20 points per game in five straight seasons, earning five All-Star selections in this stretch. He has been a key part of three NBA title runs with the Warriors.

The guard has proved his defensive ability as well, earning second-team All-Defense in 2018-19.

He's likely also carried over some style of play from earlier eras of basketball after learning from his father, Mychal Thompson, who spent 1978-91 in the NBA and won two titles with the Los Angeles Lakers.

Though the three-point shot wasn't nearly as prevalent in the 1990s as it is now, Armstrong believes Thompson would've fit right in playing in a different era.