Before they were nicknamed the Splash Brothers, Steph Curry and Klay Thompson were just trying to cement their spots on the Golden State Warriors roster. Mark Jackson, who arrived in 2011, promptly gave them the ultimate vote of confidence and called them the best backcourt in the world.
Warriors GM Bob Myers, on “All The Smoke” podcast, had this to say about Jackson’s impact on Curry, Thompson and the Warriors:
(Starts at the 5:05 mark)
“Mark [Jackson] came along and made us believe in ourselves when you’re just beaten down. Even with Steph and Klay, he was the first one to say, ‘This is the best backcourt in the world.’ If you guys heard that, I heard that when I was in the building and I was like, ‘Come on, Mark, slow down.’
“You might have heard the same thing and were like, ‘Come on, best backcourt ever?’ He was the first one to say that. If you’re a player and your coach says that about you, that gave those guys confidence.”
Steph Curry was drafted by the Warriors in 2009. He was a skinny prospect that wasn’t even considered the best point guard in his draft class. The Minnesota Timberwolves passed Curry twice, drafting playmakers Ricky Rubio and Jonny Flynn ahead of the Davidson playmaker.
Curry wasn’t the franchise player back then. Monta Ellis was the star guard while journeyman Acie Law took Curry’s minutes in crucial situations.
Two years after Steph Curry was drafted, Klay Thompson came on board. The Washington State standout wasn’t also considered the best shooting guard. That distinction supposedly went to Jimmer Fredette, who the Milwaukee Bucks drafted at No. 10 in 2011.
The Golden State Warriors didn’t make the playoffs in Mark Jackson’s first season with the team. In 2012, the Warriors decided to trade Monta Ellis instead of Curry to the Bucks for Andrew Bogut. Jackson, the front office, and Joe Lacob just made Curry the team’s franchise player and decided to build around him.
With Steph Curry and Klay Thompson leading the charge, the Warriors went to the playoffs in 2013 after missing the previous five seasons. Draymond Green, during that season, also started carving out a role for himself as a versatile backup big man who can defend all five positions.
Mark Jackson was fired after the 2013-14 season, but his impact on the backcourt, now called the Splash Brothers, was immeasurable. Curry, Thompson and Green have been at the center of the Warriors’ four championships over the last eight years.
Steph Curry has been spectacular while Klay Thompson is just starting to find his form
Steph Curry won unanimous MVP during the 2015-16 season, leading the league in scoring and steals. In 17 games this season, his numbers have rivaled the stats he put up in that historically great season.
His 31.6 points on 52.4% shooting, 6.6 rebounds and 7.2 assists are better than his 2015-16 campaign. The Golden State Warriors would have been in a worse situation than they are now if not for Curry’s early season onslaught.
Klay Thompson, on the other hand, has been terrible. Fans and critics alike have urged Steve Kerr to bench him. Before his explosion against the Houston Rockets, where he dropped 41 points, no one was sure vintage Thompson would resurface again.
Kerr refused to bench Klay Thompson, knowing that Steph Curry is at his best when his Splash Bro is on the court with him. If “Killa Klay” steadily improves and Curry sustains his blistering pace, the Warriors will be poised to defend their title.