Stephen Curry did all he could to lead the Golden State Warriors to the 2021 playoffs, but he could not achieve his goal sans Klay Thompson, who missed the entire season recovering from an Achilles tear. Despite being a finalist for the MVP Award, Curry couldn’t get past the Los Angeles Lakers or Memphis Grizzlies in the play-in tournament and will watch the postseason from home for the second consecutive year.
Before the 2020-21 season, the Warriors were expected to compete for a championship. That all changed after Thompson tore his right Achilles during a pick-up game. The sharpshooter has missed the last two seasons, and his absence is a big reason why the Dubs haven’t seen playoff action.
After the Warriors lost to the Grizzlies and saw their season end, Curry was optimistic about the future during his media session with reporters and sounded excited about playing with Thompson again. Unfortunately for the two-time MVP, his comments came before he received distressing news regarding Thompson.
Stephen Curry led the NBA in scoring in 2020-21
Curry was simply phenomenal during the 2020-21 regular season. Despite getting blitzed on pick-and-rolls and being the main focus of defenses for 48 minutes, he led the NBA in scoring for the second time in his career and hit the most 3-pointers.
In 63 games, Curry averaged 32.0 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 5.8 assists while shooting 48.2% from the field, 42.1% from beyond the arc, and 91.6% from the free-throw line. He made 337 3-pointers, marking the sixth time he’s led the league in that category. The seven-time All-Star scored at least 40 points 11 times and poured in 62 points against Damian Lillard and the Portland Trail Blazers on Jan. 3.
The Warriors’ second-leading scorer was Andrew Wiggins, who put up 18.6 points per game. Without Thompson in the lineup, they didn’t have another elite shooter and scorer by Curry’s side, and it’s one of the main reasons they missed the playoffs in the rugged Western Conference.
Thompson sat out the 2019-20 season recovering from his left ACL tear. He was looking forward to destroying the league in 2020-21, only to tear his right Achilles. Curry cried when he found out his backcourt mate tore his Achilles, but deep down, he knew Thompson would come back stronger than ever and help him lead the Warriors back to the promised land.
However, Curry may have to wait longer than he expected to play with Thompson again.
It doesn’t appear Klay Thompson will be ready for the start of the 2021-22 regular season
During his end-of-the-season press conference, Warriors general manager Bob Myers said it’s unlikely Thompson will be ready for the start of the 2021-22 regular season. It certainly wasn’t the news Curry wanted to hear, though he likely understands Thompson can’t rush back.
“I don’t know that it’ll be the start of the year,” Myers said. “We’ll see more as camp gets closer. When I say start of the year, I mean Game 1. I don’t know if that’s realistic or not. That’ll be less than a year. I don’t know what date the season opens up, but I think that’ll be 11 months. I don’t know that that’s realistic.”
As great as Curry is, the Warriors will miss the playoffs again in 2021-22 if Thompson can’t get back on the floor and produce at a high level. They don’t have enough firepower on offense outside of the Splash Brothers, and while he’s expected to play at some point next season, Thompson’s future production is uncertain since he’s coming back from two serious injuries.
The Warriors may not win another title in the Stephen Curry era
As long as he remains healthy, Curry will continue to put up MVP numbers and torch his opponents from beyond the arc. However, since Draymond Green is getting older and continues to be a liability on offense and Thompson has suffered two major leg injuries, the Warriors may not win another championship with Curry on the roster.
Curry will be entering a contract year next season. He’s eligible to sign an extension once the new league year begins in August. All signs point toward the future Hall of Famer retiring with the Warriors, but it’s looking more and more likely that he’s played his final game in the Finals.
It will be fascinating to watch the Warriors in 2021-22. All eyes will be on Thompson to see when he comes back, but it looks like Curry will have to begin the season without his partner in crime again.
Stats courtesy of Basketball Reference.