Klay Thompson Sends a Frightening Message to the Rest of the NBA in Warriors Return: ‘It’s Only Up From Here’
Golden State Warriors star guard Klay Thompson finally made his long-awaited return after a 941-day absence. Thompson excelled in his first NBA game behind his promising performance, albeit in limited action. Following the contest, the five-time All-Star voiced a scary reality ahead for the rest of the league.
Klay Thompson shines in his long-awaited return
After missing the last 2 1/2 years, Thompson made his long-anticipated return on Sunday night against the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The five-time All-Star played only 20 minutes, but he demonstrated a tremendous burst in his step while showing flashes of his elite form before his injuries. Thompson scored 17 points on 7-of-18 shooting, including knocking down 3-of-8 attempts from beyond the arc.
The 31-year-old scored from all over the floor, creating his shot off the dribble, hitting from distance, and throwing down a surprisingly vicious one-handed dunk over a few Cavaliers players. Beyond that, he provided the Warriors a huge spark to move past a young and promising team.
However, it was his comments after the contest that should put the rest of the league on notice.
Klay Thompson sends a frightening message to the rest of the NBA in Warriors return: ‘It’s only up from here’
Klay Thompson’s return was everything the Warriors hoped it would be as the star guard proved it was well worth the wait.
Thompson excelled in his limited action despite the expected early rust as he found his shooting rhythm. The highlight moment of the game came from his monstrous dunk that surprised everyone, including himself.
“I got a big on the switch and I was able to get a lane,” Thompson recalled. “It’s funny I didn’t dunk the whole two months of scrimmaging, but when those lights are the brightest I just felt bouncy. It felt so good to throw that down. I did not expect that. I am very pleased with my efforts tonight.
“I missed some shots that I normally make, but I am just happy to be able to say that because I couldn’t say that the last two years. I can go back and rewatch the film and be better against Memphis.”
The extended rehab process certainly worked wonders allowing him to physically regain the burst he had before his two significant leg injuries. The dunk alone cleared a tremendous mental hurdle while he voiced a frightening reality for the rest of the league.
“Oh yeah,” Thompson exclaimed. “Knowing that I can still do that and being able to get to my spots and rise up and shoot. It’s only up from here.”
The fact that he looked physically in tune in his first game back after missing more than two-plus years is more than impressive. It will take him time to get his body truly reacclimated, but he’s off to a promising start that only bodes well for the Warriors’ future.
Warriors must be patient with the process
Thompson and the Warriors can’t help but feel excited about how Sunday’s contest unfolded.
However, it’s the first step in the process as the star guard works his way fully into the fold. He needs to move toward an increased workload progressively. Head coach Steve Kerr voiced a few days ago that Thompson would play between 15-20 minutes early on while being kept out of back-to-back sets.
The Warriors will move forward cautiously to avoid any setback, with 53 games left in the regular season. It’s plenty of time for Thompson to find his footing to help his team make a serious NBA title push.
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