The Golden State Warriors have taken the league by storm, pushing their way toward the NBA’s best record. The Warriors’ hot start has created much buzz, but it’s also featured some lingering doubt concerning their championship chances. Despite that outside noise, star guard Klay Thompson has issued a strong message.
Warriors are off to a blazing hot start
The Warriors have been the league’s most pleasant surprise through the first few weeks of the 2021-22 campaign.
Golden State holds the NBA’s best record at an 11-2 mark, firmly sitting atop the Western Conference standings. The impressive start has been due to much more than Stephen Curry’s MVP-caliber play as the youth and supporting cast has lifted the team forward.
The Warriors lead the league with 115.1 points per game while ranking third with 101.8 points per contest allowed. The balance on both ends of the floor has guided them toward higher expectations regarding NBA title contention.
However, some doubt has still crept into the dialogue, which their star guard has fully embraced.
Klay Thompson fires a warning shot on behalf of the 1st-place Warriors: ‘I hope people keep doubting us’
The Warriors’ hot start has many media pundits, such as ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith, jumping on the bandwagon, labeling them as a legitimate championship contender once Thompson returns from his Achilles injury.
However, not everyone feels that optimistic about Golden State. It’s led the Warriors star guard to voice that he loves hearing people doubt his team.
“I love it,” Thompson told Sports Illustrated last week, through a defiant grin. “I love it. I hope people keep doubting us. I saw somebody on the TV the other day talking about, The Warriors aren’t contenders because they’ve had a soft schedule. Buddy, we got the MVP, a defensive player of the year. That kind of disrespect bothers me. We have so many champions, guys who have done it in the highest pressure moments, and you’re still gonna question our ability? I love it. But whatever. That’s what talking heads are paid to do.”
Thompson hears all the outside noise, but he also knows about the Big Three’s track record of proving it on the grandest stage. The vast amount of playoff experience will certainly play a factor in pushing the Warriors forward.
However, the youth throughout the roster has left some doubt, as that will determine how far Golden State ventures. Thompson’s return will play a pivotal factor, but a serious championship bid will elude the Warriors if the supporting cast around their star talent doesn’t step up.
Klay Thompson is nearing closer to his imminent return
The big elephant in the room remains Thompson’s return.
The Warriors have remained extremely patient with his recovery as he’s coming back from a pair of severe leg injuries. Despite that, Thompson is steadily pushing toward a return in the coming weeks, likely before Christmas.
The 31-year-old is increasing his on-court work while edging closer to participating in 5-on-5 practice drills. Golden State is careful not to put the cart in front of the horse, but it’s hard not to sense significant optimism around the situation.
“To try to put some expectations on a guy coming back from an ACL injury that was followed by an Achilles injury, I think is wrong,” Green said during a recent appearance on The Jim Rome Show via The Mercury News. “I think we all see that this team has potential to possibly make a run, and we all want Klay back and just expect him to come back as Klay Thompson as if he didn’t just have two possibly career-ending injuries.
“For me as his teammate, as his brother, as a leader of this team, my expectations are extremely low. And not because I don’t respect Klay Thompson and know what he brings to the table, but more so that I know everybody’s expecting and going to put the pressure on Klay Thompson to be the Klay Thompson of old right away.”
The Warriors will maintain a close eye on the star guard’s recovery, but it’s becoming more evident that he’s getting closer to his long-awaited comeback.
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