NBA Finals Matchup: JR Smith vs. Klay Thompson
The NBA Finals tipped off last night as the Cleveland Cavaliers faced off against the Golden State Warriors. The Warriors defeated the Cavs, but it is still early in the series. Many players on both teams can determine the outcome of the series, especially two-time MVP, Stephen Curry, and LeBron James, but the matchup that should be exciting is that between JR Smith and Klay Thompson. Both of these players have a similar style of play, but let’s break it down to see who has the advantage in this matchup.
*Photo via Slant News
Klay Thompson, SG, Golden State Warriors:
Postseason Stats: 25.2 ppg, 4 rpg, 2.4 apg, 44.5 fg%, 44.3 3 point %, 1.1 spg, .4 bpg
Strengths: Klay Thompson is one half of the “Splash Brothers” and has been playing like it these playoffs. He has “arguably” carried the Warriors in these playoffs and is a huge reason for their success in Game 6, in which he scored 41 points. Klay Thompson is a dynamic shooter and is virtually unstoppable once his shot is on. He is also a great defender as he usually guards the opponent’s best guard on the other end of the floor.
Weaknesses: Klay Thompson is one of the greatest shooters in the NBA; however, he cannot create his own shot. If his shot is not falling, like in Game 1, he isn’t as effective as he is when it is. Klay Thompson is a great defender, but is prone to fouling. In Game 1, he had three fouls in the first half alone and in his last five games; he has had at least four fouls in three of them. Klay Thompson is very important to the Warriors and needs to stay on the floor.
*Photo via Getty Images
JR Smith, SG, Cleveland Cavaliers:
Postseason Stats: 11.4 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 1.3 apg, 45.2 fg%, 45.9 3 point %, 1.1 spg, .3 bpg
Strengths: JR Smith, like Klay Thompson, is a very good shooter and when his shot is on, he is unstoppable. Smith has unlimited range and can score in bunches. He can drive to the basket and initiate contact. JR Smith is a spark plug on offense and can go on his own personal scoring runs.
Weaknesses: JR Smith’s strength is also his weakness. Although he has a great shot, Smith tends to keep shooting whether he makes or miss. Another problem is that when he is missing his shots, he is useless. He doesn’t defend particularly well and can disappear on offense and defense, like he did in last years’ NBA Finals.
Advantage: Just by looking at the stat line, you would be able to determine that Klay Thompson has the upper hand in this matchup and that is absolutely correct. Thompson plays well on both sides of the court and is a major part of the offense for the Warriors. Smith has potential to play a role as well, but Thompson will be a bigger factor if the Warriors win as opposed to Smith.
Game 2 is on Sunday, stay tuned.