The Warriors Are Targeting a Christmas Day Return for Klay Thompson, Who’s Already Been Spotted in the Gym Raining Threes

Golden State has been missing its starting shooting guard for more than two calendar years. But now the Warriors are targeting a Christmas Day return for Klay Thompson.

Thompson has had to recover from a torn ACL and a torn Achilles suffered in back-to-back seasons. Steph Curry has been missing his fellow Splash Brother, but the good news is that he can expect his wingmate back this season. Thompson has already been spotted working out in the gym and raining threes.

December has been the targeted return for Thompson all along. Now that Christmas Day, specifically, is in play, Golden State can expect to make a second-half run toward the playoffs.

The Warriors are targeting a Christmas Day return for Klay Thompson

Klay Thompson of the Golden State Warriors, in street clothes, greets teammates during a time out in the third quarter of a game against the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Klay Thompson of the Golden State Warriors greets teammates during a time out in the third quarter of a game against the Cleveland Cavaliers. | Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

Thompson was usually healthy up until the 2019 playoffs. A series of injuries started to mount, but as the Warriors were making their final run at an NBA championship with Kevin Durant, Thompson stayed on the floor. He began to develop knee soreness during the year and missed the penultimate game of the regular season. He sprained his right ankle in the opening round of the playoffs. Still with ankle soreness, the 6-foot-6 guard pulled a hamstring in game two against Toronto in the NBA finals. The injuries and desire to play through them finally caught up with Thompson as he tore his left ACL in game five of the finals, one game after Durant tore his Achilles. In doing so, he missed the entire 2019-20 season.

In November of 2020, Thompson suffered a heartbreaking setback, tearing the Achilles on his right leg as he was close to returning. He then missed all of the 2020-21 season as well.

The NBA released its 2021-22 schedule, including the marquee Christmas games. The Warriors are set to welcome back their three-point marksman now on Christmas Day, according to CBSSports. If Thompson does return that day, he’ll be playing on the road at the defending Western Conference Champion Phoenix Suns.

Golden State and superstar Steph Curry have sorely missed Thompson

Thompson is a career 41.9% three-point shooter on seven attempts per game. He also shoots 45.9% from the field and 84.8% at the line. He’s one of the greatest shooters of his generation. He averaged better than 20 points per game in five consecutive seasons before his injuries. The former Washington State Cougar also doubles as Golden State’s best wing defender, which is key as opposing offenses can take advantage of Curry on that end of the floor due to his slight build.

Curry had to carry the Warriors for the entirety of last season. In his age 33 campaign, the point guard led his team in minutes during the regular season was fifth in the NBA in usage rate. He led the league in scoring out of necessity. Over the final 15 games, as Golden State clung to a chance at the postseason play-in games, Curry’s scoring average bumped up to 35.3 points and his minutes per game increased to 34.9. It was one of the two-time MVPs greatest seasons, but only because it had to be.

Klay Thompson’s return gives the Warriors a chance to make a run in the second half of the season

If Thompson does indeed make his return on Christmas Day, Golden State will have a little more than four months left in the regular season. Assuming he needs a few weeks to get back into NBA shape, Thompson should be rounding into form at some point in January. The Warriors’ final regular-season game is scheduled for Thursday, April 7, against the LA Lakers.

The hope is that Curry, Draymond Green, James Wiseman, and the team’s two lottery picks in July’s draft — Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody — can hold down the fort for the first few months of the year. Thompson’s return would then give Golden State a boost and a weapon it hasn’t had in two calendar years. Once the gang gets back together, the Warriors should be able to make yet another run at the NBA finals.

All statistics courtesy of Basketball-Reference and NBA.com.

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