2015 NBA Finals: How Iman Shumpert Should Defend Klay Thompson (Video)


When the Cleveland Cavaliers face off against the Golden State Warriors for the 2015 NBA Championship everyone knows that one of the keys to the series is going to be how the Cleveland Cavaliers will decide to defend against the “The Splash Brothers” Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson.

Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets /

Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

This is not going to be an easy task at all because both players have to be defended as soon as they cross halfcourt.

One of the players that will be instrumental in trying to slow down Curry and Thompson is Iman Shumpert who has established himself as being one of the best perimeter defenders the NBA has to offer in these playoffs.

Dispatching Shumpert on either one of “The Splash Brothers” is going to be a tedious task, but Shumpert’s size and physicality is going to be to the teams benefit in defending either one of the Warriors’ backcourt stars.

Most of Shumpert’s time will likely be used to defend Klay Thompson.

The problems that Klay Thompson presents are actually things that Shumpert has seen before in these playoffs, but with a few added wrinkles.

The Warriors are good about getting Thompson free off of screens for three-point and mid-range shots. So it is imperative that Shumpert stays in Klay Thompson’s hip pocket when Thompson is cutting the baseline or mixing in traffic for pindowns.

When Thompson is cutting around screens you have to stay connected for the full ride. The Warriors might have him cut and curl off one screen for the mid-range jumper, or they might make Shumpert have to run through a full gamut of screens so Klay can get a three-point bomb off.

The main thing is to fight through the screens.

If Thompson is off the ball going through screens, stay on his hip. If Thompson is dribbling and picks up a screen, you must fight over the top of it and contest his shot.

They actually like to run that same type of screen action for both of “The Splash Brothers”. That is why it is totally necessary to stay in the hip pocket of both players and fight over the top.

The player that actually wrote the instruction manual on how to defend Klay Thompson was Memphis Grizzlies defensive stopper/shooting guard Tony Allen.

Allen showed why he was named NBA First-Team All-Defense with the way he was able to do his defensive work against Thompson before his hamstring injury sidelined him.

The main thing that Allen did with Thompson is play physically with him. He stayed up in his chest defensively for the most part and disrupted the timing of the Warriors movement offensively.

You have to really pay attention to how Allen stayed in Thompson, and for that matter Steph Curry’s hip pocket going through screens. That is going to be key for Shumpert to duplicate in his defensive effort.

That is the kind of defensive effort it is going to take to make things difficult on Klay Thompson.

Iman Shumpert by the time this postseason is done is going to be viewed as one of the best defensive players in the NBA.

In order to completely validate that designation, holding Klay Thompson in check will seal the deal and more than likely add a couple million dollars worth of value to his name and portfolio.

In a perimeter dominated league you need strong perimeter defenders.

Being able to play lights out defense on the NBA Championship stage against one of the best offensive players in the NBA is going to boost Shumpert’s reputation.