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Klay Thompson’s Next Play: Stay out of the Way in Dallas |

Klay Thompson’s Next Play: Stay out of the Way in Dallas |

Having already lost core pieces in Derrick Jones Jr. and Tim Hardaway Jr., the Dallas Mavericks were quietly moving backward faster than even in their embarrassing NBA Finals bow-out in Game 5.

Say what you want about Dallas being a two-man team—generally true—but you at least need three guys to get out of the way while Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving spin their magic.

And that’s Klay Thompson’s specialty.

The five-time All-Star and four-time champ isn’t what he used to be. Far from it, actually.

Can he still spot up and hit a half-dozen 3-pointers in any given quarter? Absolutely.

That’s pretty much all the Mavericks ask of their non-center supporting cast these days.

You think they could have used Thompson’s 38.7-percent 3-point shooting against the Celtics in a series where Maxi Kleber (1-for-6), Jones (3-for-12) and P.J. Washington (6-for-22) combined to shoot 25.0 percent from deep? Hardaway and Jaden Hardy combined to make ONE long-range shot in the four losses.

Doncic (11- for-45) and Irving (8- for-29) weren’t exactly Jayson Tatum, let alone Stephen Curry, from beyond the arc.

Enter Thompson.

On his worst day, Thompson is every bit as off-target as Hardaway. Surely those who saw his Golden State swan song—the 0-for-10 overall/0-for-6 on 3’s dream-crusher at Sacramento in a Western Conference play-in game—can attest to that.

Unfortunately, many will remember his final act and disappointment. Or at least believe that’s what the NBA’s sixth-leading 3-point shooter of all time has become.

And that’s misguided.

Has the 34-year-old lost a step? Who knows? He never dribbled around a guy in his life.

Has his court vision blurred? What court vision? You could argue Thompson has been the NBA’s worst passing guard ever since he joined the league in 2011.

Among the 21 guys who have taken 5,000 or more 3-point attempts in their career, Thompson has the fewest assists … by 234. And we’re talking a lot of “black hole” offensive players here—hello, J.R. Smith, Kyle Korver and Eric Gordon.

And has he lost a couple inches on his vertical? How could you tell? A 6-foot-6 guy perennially criticized by no more biased critic than dad Mychal has a lower career rebound average (3.5) than Kemba Walker.

If the addition of Thompson hurts the Mavericks, it’ll be because, after two major surgeries in the last five years, he’s nowhere near the perimeter defender he used to be. Guys have dribbled circles around him the last three seasons.

But that’s not a terrible thing when you have Daniel Gafford and Dereck Lively II behind you. Just ask Doncic.

Meanwhile, you add a guy who remains one of the best catch-and-shoot performers in the league on a team that scripts its offense to maximize those opportunities. And history tells us he’ll do so without complaining, as demonstrated last season when a future Hall of Famer was demoted to the second string on a non-playoff roster and responded with the league’s second-best scoring average among reserves (19.8).

Make no mistake: Even at his advanced age, Klay Thompson can shut up and stand in the corner with the best of them.

And that’s not a criticism.

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Klay Thompson’s Next Play: Stay out of the Way in Dallas |
Klay Thompson’s Next Play: Stay out of the Way in Dallas |

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