Following the Golden State Warriors’ 117-99 beatdown of the Brooklyn Nets on Tuesday, Nov. 16, the Dubs delivered more good news. Team sharpshooter, Steph Curry’s backcourt mate, and his fellow “Splash Brother” Klay Thompson has progressed to five-on-five work.
The rest of the NBA better watch out.
When we last saw Klay it was Game 6 of the 2019 NBA Finals against the Toronto Raptors. He tore his ACL after scoring 30 points and looking like he might help the Dubs force a Game 7. But that wasn’t meant to be.
During his ACL rehab, Klay suffered a torn Achilles tendon. A devastating blow and an even longer rehab. But the word out of City by the Bay is that Klay is looking great and his return to the court is on schedule.
Head coach Steve Kerr is thrilled for Klay and happy with the timeline but is also realistic.
“He played 5-on-5 [Monday] and then I think he’s going to play 5-on-5 [Wednesday],” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said after Tuesday’s 117-99 win over the Brooklyn Nets. “James [Wiseman] did not play. He hasn’t been cleared yet for 5-on-5, but Klay did, and I got good reports and he’s got to keep going. A two-year absence requires a lot of work. Not just a rehab, but the endurance, the strength, so it’s great that he’s playing 5-on-5 but it doesn’t mean he’s going to be ready to step on an NBA floor next week or something, but he’s progressing really well.”
When healthy, Klay and Steph were the best backcourt in the NBA. Dubbed the Splash Brothers, they would rain a barrage of three-point hellfire, leaving opponents vanquished.
From 2015 to 2017 they were a phenomenon unlike anything the NBA had ever seen. They captured the hearts and minds of casual NBA fans all over the world. They were the best show in sports.
Now that the Dubs are back after two down seasons and looking like the juggernaut of old without Klay, it’s not hard to imagine what this team could look like in June.
FS1’s Kevin Wildes thinks the Dubs will have a different kind of motivation and will be aiming at the league’s other franchises who enjoyed the Dubs’ two-year dip.
Why was Steph bombing 3's in the 4th while up 20+ after Nash emptied Brooklyn's bench?
Because after two years of futility, it's knife twisting time. https://t.co/7ucnKU8Ya0
— Wildes (@kevinwildes) November 17, 2021
Fans of other NBA franchises or superstars will not be happy with a resurgent Warriors team. But this is good for the league and the overall health of the product.
The league was built on dynasties. See the Lakers, Celtics, Bulls, Spurs, and Warriors.
Whether you are rooting for them or against them, they draw in an audience and the storylines, and possibilities are endless. But we have a ways to go before we get there. It’s only November.
Klay still hasn’t played in an NBA game in over two years. It will take time for him to work his way back.
The Achilles tendon injury was once seen as a career-ender. But with the MVP-caliber play of his former teammate Kevin Durant, who suffered the same injury, you have to be encouraged if you’re a Warriors fan.
Right now the Warriors are the best team in the league. No. 1 in adjusted net rating, No. 1 in adjusted defensive rating, and No. 6 in adjusted offensive rating. Klay has been paying attention, and he too believes the Warriors are about to unleash on the league.
“I love it,” Thompson told Sports Illustrated‘s Howard Beck last week. “I hope people keep doubting us. I saw somebody on the TV the other day talking about, The Warriors aren’t contenders because they’ve had a soft schedule. Buddy, we got the MVP, a defensive player of the year. That kind of disrespect bothers me. We have so many champions, guys who have done it in the highest pressure moments, and you’re still gonna question our ability? I love it. But whatever. That’s what talking heads are paid to do.
Curry, Draymond Green, Andre Iguodala and Kerr are the core of a championship dynasty. Other players have changed over the years, but that group remains the same. There is something to institutional knowledge.
“You see what we’re doing to start this year?” Thompson told SI. “And I’m not even out there yet. I’m just so excited.”
Since the Warriors lost their stranglehold on the league, other franchises have tried to create their own teams capable of going on a dynastic run. The Lakers, Clippers, Heat and Nets come to mind.
Nets point guard James Harden referred to himself, Durant, and Kyrie Irving as “scary hours” last season when asked how teams can defend the offensive supernovas.
Maybe. But the real “scary hours” are coming from the team in the City by the Bay, and the NBA has been put on notice.