We haven’t gotten nearly enough of the Klay Thompson-Zaza Pachulia faux feud this year, but this past weekend offered some hope that it might start heating up in the second half of the NBA season when we’re all going to need more levity.
Thompson posted a photo of himself on Instagram following Saturday’s win against the Los Angeles Clippers. Klay is shown in the pic impressively blocking a shot under the basket, while Pachulia is standing in the background watching, his feet cemented to the floor with a dumb-and-dumber gaze on his face.
Klay’s wicked social media shot: “Look at Zaza, taking notes.”
Unfortunately, Klay left himself wide open for a Zaza-Zing retort by going 4 for 20 in the game and scoring just 10 points despite that big block. Pachulia logged his comeback comment right onto Thompson’s post: “That was only positive thing you did yesterday klaythompson. You still my guy.”
Nice to break the friendly trolling silence between these two, but it’s also noteworthy that Zaza added that “still my guy” part. That’s because Pachulia undoubtedly realizes it’s just too daunting to knock the man who is almost certainly the Warriors’ first-half most valuable player.
Yes, you read that right. Klay Thompson is the Warriors’ MVP at the halfway point of the regular season following Monday night’s 124-114 victory against Denver. His take-home “trophy” was his latest bobblehead given out at Oracle Arena before the game, although his dog Rocco may not be too happy he didn’t make this year’s model.
Rocco will have to settle for his owner being the Warriors’ No. 1 rock in a season of increased training room trauma. Perhaps “once again” should be added to that sentence, because Every-Day Klay’s ironman quotient may be one of the most under-appreciated attributes of the Warriors’ dynasty (although surely not by general manager Bob Myers and coach Steve Kerr).
Thompson is the only Warriors player to suit up and log time in all 41 games so far, which keeps his 6½-season ledger of DNPs at a mere 12 games. Twelve, or less than two missed games per year! Not to disparage Stephen Curry, who was just NBA Player of the Week for the 11th time, but Curry missed 13 games just in the first half of this season.
Klay has played in 505 out of a possible total of 517 regular-season games in his NBA career. Playoff games? Still batting 1.000. He’s 81 for 81, virtually the equivalent of another full season without a miss. It’s just a remarkable ongoing achievement, above and beyond his considerable court production.
Considering his two-way strengths as an elite scorer and defender, Thompson just being out on the floor is undervalued (he leads the team in minutes played, and is second behind Kevin Durant in average minutes at 34.0). While his per-game scoring average may be down slightly at 20.7 per game, he is shooting a career-best 48.3 percent on all shots and 45.2 percent on 3-pointers.
The latter figure is seventh-best in the league, and his volume shooting prowess enhances his status at that position — he’s the only player in the top 10 of the 3-point percentage category averaging more 20 points a game. He scored 19 Monday against the Nuggets on 8 of 17 shooting, including 3 of 6 from 3.