Jason Terry rather harshly assessed Klay Thompson, but the Bucks guard’s overall point was generally correct: James Harden is better than Thompson.
Terry’s stance on Kawhi Leonard? Not quite as sound.
Let’s get James Harden, move him to the side over here. He’s an A-side performer, right?
Let’s go to the B side. The B-side performers in the NBA. That is Kawhi Leonard and Klay Thompson. Those two right there.
B side is being a support-cast role but not really a bench player. The A Side is your superstar. It is your great player. It is your guy. That’s LeBron James, James Harden, Russell Westbrook, Stephen Curry – these guys – Chris Paul.
Terry is not the first NBA player to undervalue Leonard. There were narratives established long ago – the Spurs are Tim Duncan’s team; the Spurs’ big three is Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili; the Spurs’ success is predicated on Gregg Popovich’s system – that serve to poach credit from Leonard.
Reality: Leonard is one of the NBA’s very best players. He was the best player on a team that reached back-to-back Finals, won one and then won 67 games the following year. Leonard even finished second in MVP voting last season, which surprised me considering the aforementioned narratives. I really thought he had broken through to gain the recognition he deserved.
But Terry’s diss proves there’s still a way to go.