The Golden State Warriors had a chance to cement their legacy last season and when three consecutive titles. They would have been the first team to do so since the 2000-2002 Los Angeles Lakers team. Due to injuries to their top players, the Warriors could not overcome the challenges they faced and lost to the Toronto Raptors in the 2019 NBA finals.
Kevin Durant went down with an injury in game five of the conference finals against the Houston Rockets that struck a massive blow to the Warriors. But the Warriors were able to defeat the Rockets without Durant and advance to the finals. Klay Thompson also went down with an injury in the finals that ruined the Warriors’ chance of winning and put a pause on the team’s success in the future.
Klay Thompson’s injury
The Warriors still had a fighting chance at winning the title in 2019. In game six, the Warriors trailed 3-2 needing a win to keep their hopes alive. Already without Durant, the Warriors needed Stephen Curry and Thompson to step up. Thompson was on a roll during the game, he had 28 points shooting 8-of-12 from the field and 4-of-6 from deep, all through almost three quarters.
Then disaster struck. On a fast break, Curry passed it to Thompson, who went up for a layup and got fouled. When Thompson landed, he fell awkwardly on his leg and was in immediate pain. After getting help from his teammates off the court, Thompson was helped to the locker room but then returned to shoot two free throws. After he made both free throws, the Warriors committed a foul to get Thompson out of the game.
Later, Thompson was diagnosed with a torn ACL. He did not think the injury was that serious at first. He initially thought he sprained his knee, but that wasn’t the case. The Warriors ended up losing game six 114-110 as the Raptors won their first NBA championship in the history of the franchise.
Thompson’s injury was a big blow for the Warriors, and they did not have the manpower to withstand the Raptors in game six. Without Durant and Thompson, it was tough for Curry to get past the Raptors. With a fully healthy team, the Warriors had a good chance at making a comeback and winning a third straight title.
Steve Kerr’s comments on Thompson’s injury
Thompson’s injury forced him to miss the entirety of the 2019-20 season. Before the 2020 Tokyo Olympics were cancelled, Kerr mentioned that Thompson could be available for Team USA. Now that the Olympics are pushed back, Thompson can have more time with the rehabilitation process.
A healthy Thompson is a top priority for the Warriors, and it’s obvious the team wants him in the long run. Over the offseason, the Warriors offered Thompson a five-year $190 million max contract.
Thompson’s future with the Warriors
Once Thompson returns to full health, the Warriors can find themselves back in championship contention. The 2020-21 season can be a prosperous year for the Warriors. You have a healthy Draymond Green, Stephen Curry, and Klay Thompson, the Warriors will be back in action.
The Warriors can have a lottery pick in the 2020 draft as well, and whoever they take will offer a lot of help to the team. Though the Warriors have struggled this season, that can all turn around in a year.