Klay Thompson, the 6-foot-7 lethal-shooting half of the “Splash Brothers” duo, hasn’t played in the NBA since Game 6 of the 2019 Finals.
The three-time world champion has been sidelined with major injuries the past two seasons. First a torn ACL, then a ruptured Achilles tendon on NBA draft night in 2020 just as he was working his way back.
Sticking To Your Guns: Stay Melo
Thompson’s injury occured hours before Golden State drafted, but it didn’t affect how the front office would attack the board. There were strong rumors that with Klay’s future uncertain, Golden State would choose a guard instead, probably subsequent NBA Rookie of the Year LaMelo Ball.
Golden State entered the draft looking for a rim protector with size and versatility and stood pat on that plan, taking James Wiseman, the uber talented center from Memphis.
Still Grinding Back
Fast forward to 2021 and Klay Thompson is still working his way back into the fold with training camp set to open Sept. 28.
The Dubs gave a rare status update pertaining to Thompson’s recovery on Monday.
Warriors general manager Bob Myers previously hinted at a December return for the five-time All-Star, but that may not be the right time, as the team informed the public on Twitter.
“Klay Thompson, who has missed the last two seasons due to a torn ACL and torn right Achilles, has made good progress during his rehabilitation over the course of the summer and is on pace to return for the ‘2021-22 season.’
“The exact time for his return this season will be based on his continued progress. Klay who underwent surgery on his right Achilles on November 25, 2020, is expected to participate in various controlled drills during training camp.”
Back in June, the club seemd a bit more positive about an early season return.
“Although it’s not guaranteed that Thompson will play the first game of the regular season, there haven’t been any setbacks in his recovery, according to league sources, and the Warriors expect that he will be a participant in training camp,” reported Wes Goldberg of The Mercury News.
No Klay, No Way
If Splash Brother No. 2 doesn’t return soon, Golden State fans are really going to start panicking, because missing multiple seasons due to injury is never a great sign.
It’s also unclear how long it will take Klay to get back to elite form once he does return.
The Warriors have sorely missed Thompson’s career averages of 19.5 points a game and 41.9 percent shooting from three-point range. He’s widely recognized as a top five shooter in NBA history.
They probably won’t even sniff a return to the “Dub Dynasty” days if Klay can’t return close to 100 percent.
Last season the Warriors lost a play-in game to Ja Morant and the Memphis Grizzlies that probably wouldn’t have been that competitive if Klay was healthy enough to relieve some of Curry’s offensive load.
His absence changes everything we have come to know and admire about the Warriors. Steph Curry is legendary, but he’s not quite as successful without the other Splash Brothers dialing long distance on the assistance.