The prime candidate for the NBA’s comeback player of the year and its most surprising rookie met Wednesday night and only diehard fans of the Hornets and Warriors watched.
While we shouldn’t overhype New Orleans’ Jarrett Jack and Golden State’s Klay Thompson’s game in Oakland into the second coming of Longfellow’s two ships passing in the night, it’s just as wrong to overlook the seasons of these overlooked guards. The relative lack of attention the game got — would you tune into two teams diving into the lottery head-first just because? — is as unsurprising as Jack and Thompson have been revelations this year if graded against expectations.
With Jack holding a vicelock on his starting job, and Thompson’s minutes nearly doubling with Monta Ellis traded and Stephen Curry injured, both continued their run Wednesday. Jack dropped 20 points on 8-of-15 shooting and nine dimes with one turnover, while Thompson got 13 points with three assists and three boards with five turnovers.
You’ve seen these two arrive on your radar if you play fantasy, but you can’t blame many for not taking them initially. Jack now averages 15.5 points, 6.2 assists, 2.4 turnovers and 46 percent shooting this season, with Thompson 10.4 points on 44 percent from the field and 42 from three. Those early buyers likely sound like a hipster friend touting your new favorite artist as someone you should have seen coming months ago.
What might you have missed?
Only eight guards in the league average at least 15 points and six assists per game, and Jack is among them (Good company: Kyle Lowry, John Wall, Chris Paul, Ty Lawson, Deron Williams, Derrick Rose and Tony Parker complete the list). He’s also having the second-fewest turnovers per game among the group, next to Paul.
Need scoring in a hurry? Look up Thompson, the rookie guard out of Washington State. He’s averaging 10.2 points per game, sixth-most by rookies. Among the top 10 rookie scorers this season, only Denver’s Kenneth Faried averages fewer minutes (20.8 for Thompson to 20.4 for Manimal).