by Henry Miller | Sports Editor
With this summer’s wild NBA free agency, NBA player’s value has begun to be assessed based on what their value in a theoretical trade scenario. The Houston Rockets dealt a host of future draft picks to the Oklahoma City Thunder for star Point guard Russell Westbrook. The rival Golden State Warriors extended their star shooting guard Klay Thompson making him one of the highest paid shooting guards in the league. Westbrook was the league’s MVP during the 2016-2017 season as well as making eight all-NBA teams. With accolades like this most consider Westbrook the superior player as Thompson has only made two all-NBA teams. However I believe that Klay Thompson should a much more sought after player despite having an inferior list of accolades compared to Westbrook.
Westbrook has had some of the most impressive statistical seasons in NBA history, but regularly exits the playoffs in the first round even with a solid supporting cast. His style of play should concern the Rockets as he tends to cripple his team in light of his style of basketball that leaves his team at the mercy of his decisions on the court.
Klay Thompson however, is much more consistent. With an average of 21 points per game last season as well as an appearance on the NBA’s all-defense team, Klay will provide any team with top tier three point shooting as well as being a top ten defender in the league. On the flip side of this, Westbrook has gone from leading the league in scoring with 31.6 points per game to averaging just 22 points per game last season. Inconsistent scoring numbers, poor shooting splits, and mediocre defense have been the story of Westbrook’s play since winning the MVP in 2017. To go along with this, Westbrook is a regular leader in turnovers per game. Westbrook’s headstrong style of play also regularly gets him into foul trouble averaging 2.7 personal fouls a game in his last five games. Thompson has only averaged 1.8 over his last five seasons. With both players being locked down by contracts for the next three to five years it will be no surprise if Westbrook’s value continues to depreciate whereas Thompson should remain consistent as both players careers extend on.