Not only did the Warriors lose Game 6 and the series to the Raptors, but Thompson also tore his left ACL. He missed the entire 2019-20 season, and Golden State won only 15 games. The five-time All-Star was excited to return to the court in 2020-21, but he tore his right Achilles in an offseason pick-up game and had to sit out another season.
The Warriors will begin the 2021-22 campaign without Thompson. However, Dubs fans got an exceptional update on their sharpshooter from one of the best NBA reporters.
Shams Charania: Klay Thompson to be cleared for full practice within next month
According to Shams Charania of Stadium, Thompson is expected to return to practice in November. One of the top shooters in NBA history, the three-time champion could make his season debut in December or January, depending on how his body feels.
“I’m told Klay Thompson will be cleared for full practice over the next month or so,” Charania said. “And from there, it’s just gonna be about him ramping up and him rehabbing, continuing to figure out, you know, at what pace do they wanna bring him back and when do they feel comfortable with him back. It’s not just gonna be he gets cleared for practice after two major injuries and just goes into playing. So, there will be a ramp-up period. I would look somewhere in the December-January range for his return, but the Warriors will be cautious.”
The Warriors have every right to be careful with Thompson since he’s coming back from two serious injuries. However, they should also be thrilled about what their offense will look like once he’s playing again.
Klay Thompson is an elite shooter
In 615 regular-season games with the Warriors, Thompson is averaging 19.5 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 2.3 assists while shooting 45.9% from the field, 41.9% from beyond the arc, and 84.8% from the free-throw line. Among active players, he’s seventh in 3-pointers made and fifth in 3-point percentage.
Not only is Thompson an elite offensive weapon, but he’s also a stout defender. He can guard multiple players on the perimeter, which allows the Warriors to hide Stephen Curry on defense since the two-time MVP isn’t the best defender. Thompson’s gravity is also spectacular. Since his defender can’t leave him on the perimeter, guys like Andrew Wiggins, Avery Bradley, and Draymond Green should have open lanes to attack the basket and finish at the rim.
The Warriors signed Thompson to a five-year, $189.9 million contract in the summer of 2019. Although he hasn’t played a single game since signing that massive deal, the California native believes he’ll be a high-caliber player when he returns.
Warriors star confident about his game
During an interview with Sirius XM, Thompson said he’s going to be a highly effective player when he comes back for the Warriors, who have missed the playoffs the past two seasons without their starting shooting guard.
“When I step back on the floor, I’m gonna be a very effective player,” Thompson said. “Maybe not what I was doing shooting the ball like I was, but I will still be really good, and I will just keep going up, and I really believe that.”
Thompson averaged 21.5 points while shooting 40.2 from deep in 2018-19. It will undoubtedly take him time to knock off the rust and get back into rhythm, but Warriors fans will just be happy to see him on the hardwood again.
Stats courtesy of Basketball Reference