You may have seen/heard about this:
Honestly, Klay was just making a little jab at his father, Mychal, who played for those Lakers (from 1987-1991) BUT…are these Warriors better than those Lakers? Let’s look at the matchups:
The Showtime Lakers encompass the entire 80’s decade but for our purposes, we’re going to use the 1987 Lakers team because that roster had Klay’s father, Mychal Thompson, on it.
The 1987 Lakers:
G: Earvin “Magic” Johnson
G: Byron Scott/Michael Cooper
F: James Worthy
F: A.C. Green
C: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
This was the team that won the first out of two consecutive NBA titles, these would be the last of the Showtime era.
Now the 2015-2016 Golden State Warriors:
G: Steph Curry
G: Klay Thompson
F: Harrison Barnes/Andre Iguodala
F: Draymond Green
C: Andrew Bogut
When the Lakers are on offense:
It seems pretty clear to me that Kareem, even at his advanced age, would get whatever he wanted against Bogut. That Skyhook would not be challenged. It wouldn’t be easy to get the ball there, though, as Magic would find himself checked by Harrison Barnes (aka Farm Strength) or Iguodala (Eagle Dollar, lit). Iggy would be especially troublesome, IMO. If he can hold Lebron James, who is Magic Johnson on steroids to 35% shooting over the last 7 GS/CLE games (Cleveland is -75 when Iggy guards Lebron) then I think he can cover Magic as well. At the same time, Steph has proven himself to be a pretty good on-ball defender as well; I don’t think Byron Scott would have much luck against him in the halfcourt. This would put the Lakers at a distinct disadvantage. A.C. Green was not a player who could get his own shot even back then, he wouldn’t be able to do that against 2-time NBA All-Defensive First Team player Draymond Green either. That leaves Big Game James against Klay Thompson, who is one of the best two-way players in the game today. James wasn’t known for his ability to beat defenders off the dribble but he may have been able to catch Klay in transition. There aren’t many advantages here for the Lakers.
When the Warriors are on offense:
For as good as the Showtime Lakers were in their transition offense, they left something to be desired defensively. That spells trouble against an all-time great offensive team like the Warriors. Who’s guarding Steph? Byron Scott would get eaten alive so maybe Pat Riley would give Michael Cooper extended minutes. Either way, that’s a decided advantage for the Warriors. At the 2 guard, Klay is no Kyrie Irving off the dribble but he’s shown enough of a threat with the ball to free himself up on the perimeter; additionally, he’s the second best shooter ever and knows how to use screens to free himself for open threes. Can James Worthy chase him around all game and still be effective on offense? Maybe, but probably not. Magic, for all of his greatness offensively, was not a great defender and they wouldn’t be able to hide him well against GS. This is doubly true if we’re playing by 1987 NBA defensive rules which eliminated the use of zone defenses. Barnes would go wild to the tune of 11 points and 7 rebounds. Poor A.C. Green, abused on offense and he’s gonna have the time of his life guarding Draymond on the perimeter. The only matchup that doesn’t work in GS’ favor is Bogut but they don’t work their offense through him in the halfcourt anyway.
Both of these teams play fast and want to get out and run in transition. The difference between them is the Warriors ability to lock down on defense. Their ability to switch everything and disrupt passing lanes will prevent the Lakers from being effective in the halfcourt. Additionally, it will be difficult for the Lakers to stay with all of GS’ shooters and match their bench output. The more I think about this, the more I think Golden State really is better than the Showtime Lakers.
Hypothetical score: Golden State 120, Los Angeles 104