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Jimmy Butler vs Klay Thompson: Who's the best two-way guard in the league?

SENIOR ANALYST
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Butler
Jimmy and Klay at the Team USA Basketball camp, 2016

The careers of Klay Thompson and Jimmy Butler, pretty much like the careers of Damian Lillard and Kyrie Irving, present an impressive contrast. Drafted in 2011, both of them have taken major strides in their careers and are now perennial All-Stars even in the stacked Western Conference, which houses a clear majority of the league's All-Star caliber players.

While Butler's Bulls team floundered mainly because of Derrick Rose's injury troubles and their inability to surround him with enough talent, Steph Curry and Klay's meteoric rise up the ladder of the best players in the league has made the Warriors the best-run franchise in all of American sports. As a result of which, they attract the top talent of the league in the form of Kevin Durant and DeMarcus Cousins.

Which shooting guard, in a vacuum, is the better player right now? We try to answer this question below.


#1 On-ball offense

Butler d
Butler drives past Klay Thompson

Jimmy wins this category pretty handily. He's a willing playmaker who's acted as the point forward for the Bulls and the Timberwolves and led them both to play-off berths. The Bulls' 2016-17 supporting cast, in particular, was sub-par during the season, but they scraped through to the 8th seed because of Butler's clutch gene and his ability to facilitate teammates.

Butler has been averaging nearly 5 assists per game for the last 3 seasons, and has a whole host of dribble moves, post moves and ball fakes that allow him to dominate as the primary scorer when he needs to.

Klay is an above-average player at creating offense for himself, but his lack of superior strength and below-average first step makes it difficult for him to drive to the hole with regularity.

Edge: Jimmy

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SENIOR ANALYST
Started as an Arsenal fan at the age of 6. Became a Ronaldo and a Real Madrid fan after the 2002 World Cup. Bandwagon Celtics fan this season, though I've watched the NBA with increasing frequency over the past 14 years or so. Played both games with my high school team at some of the highest levels there are in India. Played against East Bengal u-17s in college. A member of Mercurial FC, 1st division Amateur League team in Bangalore.
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