Klay Thompson would have thrived in Michael Jordan era, BJ Armstrong says

Drew Shiller
NBC Sports BayArea

Warriors star shooting guard Klay Thompson entered the NBA as the No. 11 overall pick in the 2011 draft.

Through his first eight seasons, he was an All-Star five times, an All-NBA selection twice and was named All-Defense Second-Team in 2018-19.

If he came into the league in the mid-1980s, would he have found the same kind of success? Former Chicago Bulls and Warriors guard B.J. Armstrong certainly believes the answer is a resounding "yes."

During ESPN's show "First Take" on Monday morning, Stephen A. Smith asked Armstrong: "Knowing how the game was played back then, and knowing what you know about the game today, who do you think would have excelled in the previous era? The (Michael) Jordan era."

Warriors fans will love the answer.

"I think about that all the time. One of the players I think would excel most in that era would be Klay Thompson," Armstrong said. "He's a big guard, he has some physicality of the game and he (plays) the game in the way that they all played.

"You ran plays where the two-guard had to provide spacing and you had to be able to take your matchup. I think he (is) 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."

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At 6-foot-6 and 215 pounds, Klay certainly has the physical tools to play in any era. It's crazy to think there was a point in time when certain people questioned his toughness because of his propensity to shoot 3-pointers.

The three-time NBA champion destroyed that narrative during the 2019 NBA Finals against the Toronto Raptors, when he shot two free throws shortly after tearing his ACL in Game 6.

And don't forget that he was battling through a hamstring injury that caused him to miss Game 3 -- the first time he was sidelined for a playoff game in his career.

Oh, and don't forget that he played through a high ankle sprain during the 2018 NBA Finals against the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Armstrong also mentioned LeBron James and Kawhi Leonard as two "obvious" players who would have thrived in the '80s and '90s. But he had to circle back to Klay.

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"Prototypical two-guard that would fit very nicely into that era and the way they played the game back then," he added. "He has the right mentality. He has the right demeanor.

"I can see him playing against Joe Dumars, I can see him playing against Clyde Drexler. I can see him playing against Michael Jordan. And he would pose some problems."

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Klay Thompson would have thrived in Michael Jordan era, BJ Armstrong says originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

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