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Stephen A. Smith was asked to list NBA players with the “most to prove” entering the playoffs next week and his list stunk. The usual suspects like James Harden, who we’d mostly agreed has the most to prove that hasn’t won a thing in his career, but he goes on to list Warriors’ star Klay Thompson at no. 5. HOW? Klay Thompson returned to basketball January 9 after 941 days away from the game following a torn ACL and Achilles tendon in back-to-back seasons.
Has got to be one of the worst takes Stephen A. has ever offered, and that’s saying something.
Klay Thompson, who hasn’t played basketball in two years because of multiple injuries, has something to prove this postseason? Steve, I’ll be damned. https://t.co/ykE7wex7TG
— Gary Sheffield Jr. (@GarysheffieldJr) April 13, 2022
- James Harden
- Kyrie Irving
- Chris Paul
- Jimmy Butler
- Klay Thompson
That’s the list. We mentioned how Harden makes sense, Irving hasn’t really shown he can come up big in the playoffs without LeBron (although many feel he can), Chris Paul came up short during game 4 of last year’s NBA Finals and Jimmy Butler has stomped his feet off every team he’s joined. All solid choices that probably could’ve included Joel Embiid that’s seemingly run out of gas down the stretch of every playoff run he ever participates in. But understandable he didn’t make it as well given most 76ers fans blamed Ben Simmons for the team falling short. Doesn’t mean it’s true, but that’s at least the narrative.
But Klay Thompson?! Absolute hog wash. Most realistic basketball fans are just happy to see Thompson back on the floor. No one knew what to expect from any player that hasn’t laced his shoes in two years, let alone averaging 20.4 points per game and dropping 41 points this past Sunday. It was entirely possible Thompson never played again which is why Thompson was practically in tears for his season debut. Now suddenly we’re over the return and Thompson must deliver? So laughable.
Stephen A. Smith, Klay Thompson is under zero pressure during this playoff run. If the Warriors hypothetically made it though the west and face off with a top seeded Phoenix Suns, they’d be underdogs. Doesn’t make much sense to apply pressure to the second best player on a team expected to lose off multiple major injuries, does it?