Thompson, Curry give Warriors best backcourt in NBA
College Contributor Network
In the 2013 Western Conference Quarterfinals, following an impressive Game 2 win in Denver, then-Warriors coach Mark Jackson told the media that Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson formed the best shooting backcourt in the history of the game.
Rebuttals were slim to none.
The Warriors backcourt, sadly no longer coached by pastor Jackson, can now be considered the best backcourt in the NBA -- period. The previous columns outlined the Raptors as the third-best and the Wizards as second-best, but neither can compare to the way Golden State's "splashtastic" duo dominates games.
The 2013 postseason was their coming out party for the mainstream, but these two have been at it since 2012 when the Warriors drafted Thompson, freed his spot in the lineup by trading Monta Ellis for Bogut and formally began what is known today as:
The Super Splash Brothers
Last season no backcourt averaged more points per game than Curry and Thompson's combined 42.4. The only other backcourt to surpass 40 points per game was Toronto's Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan. No surprise that both duos are highlighted in this list.
The scariest part about the "Splash Brothers" is that you never know which one is going to make it rain. And if they both catch fire, even Rihanna's umbrella couldn't save a team from the ensuing doom.
It doesn't take the bravado of a fiery Mark Jackson to realize both are lights-out shooters from pretty much anywhere on the court. They are the only current backcourt in the NBA to have career averages surpassing 40 percent beyond the arc and 80 percent from the charity stripe.
They combined last season for 484 made three-pointers. Not only did they break the NBA record they had set the year before for three-point field goals made by teammates in a season, 483, but they sank 79 more three-pointers than the entire Memphis Grizzlies.
The Golden State Bridge
Beyond the exceptional shooting touches, both young guards have bridged the gaps in their games by blossoming into all-around players. The days of boasting about them and only praising their jumpers are now just water under the... see what I did there?
Curry started the all-star game for the Western Conference and was selected to the All-NBA second team last season.
His evolution as a facilitator in the pick-and-roll offensive sets played a major role in those accolades. Along with his 24 points per game, he averaged 8.5 assists -- up from his previous career high of 6.9.
His numbers last season eclipsed those of Derrick Rose (25 PPG, 7.7 APG) when he received the MVP in 2011. Curry has evolved into an elite player and an unquestioned superstar.
Another positive for Curry is that he is currently debunking concerns over his durability. His ankle issues are well documented, but he has only missed eight total regular season games over the past two seasons.
His backcourt mate isn't too bad himself. Klay Thompson is an under-appreciated defender, which was brought to light in the midst of the trade rumors in which it seemed everyone thought trading Thompson for Kevin Love was a no-brainer.
I believe Golden State was smart for standing pat.
The Warriors' front office was reluctant to give up the 6-foot-7 guard because he is slowly becoming one of the best two-way shooting guards in the NBA. People look at his offensive production numbers and are enamored, but he matches the scoring output by defending the opposing team's best guard on a nightly basis.
While Thompson has improved steadily over the past three years, he has not yet had the breakout season in his career. There are two important occurrences that happened this offseason that could spur Thompson into a career year:
1. The aforementioned trade rumors in which the media, and many fans alike, were begging the Warriors to pull the trigger and dump Thompson's potential for Love's instant production. He should be motivated to prove he is worth more than a big man who has yet to grasp the concepts of help side defense and rim protection.
2. He just wrapped up a super summer with Team USA, earning a gold medal in the FIBA Basketball World Cup. Playing alongside some of the best players in the world under the tutelage of coach Mike Krzyzewski has proven to provide a spark in development for players over the years. Look for Klay to be the next.
Steve Kerr has the honor of beginning his coaching tenure with the best backcourt in the NBA. He should be able to continue the growth in Curry and Thompson's shooting proficiencies, and the Warriors are in great shape for the future.
The Super Splash Brothers have the Raptors and Wizards edged out for now, but performances this year will be pivotal in the conversation of top NBA backcourts. As a fan of the alluring style of play all three of these backcourts bring, it's going to take something really special for another tandem to knock them off.
Brandon Theo Dorsey is a senior Broadcast Journalism major and Leadership Studies minor at Hampton University. He is a native of Missouri City, Texas and a proud Miami Heat fan since 2005 -- with pictures to prove it. Unless you're a Knicks fan, follow him on Twitter: @BrandonTheoD