After missing the last two seasons due to injuries, the Golden State Warriors are awaiting Klay Thompson’s return this season. Known for his elite shooting, he has had some of the best shooting performances in NBA history. The Warriors struggled to make the playoffs in both seasons without him. A career 19.5 points per game scorer and 41.9% three-point shooter, the Warriors will rely on him heavily once he returns.
Thompson’s Last Healthy Year
Thompson’s last healthy year was in the 2018-19 NBA season. In that season he played 78 of 82 regular-season games and averaged 21.5 points on 40.2% shooting from behind the arc. In a game where he scored 52 points, he set the NBA record for most three-pointers, draining 14. He also made the NBA All-Defensive 2nd Team that year.
The Warriors went on to play in the NBA Finals, but they lost to the Toronto Raptors. Thompson tore his ACL in Game 6. That injury kept him out all of the following 2019-2020 season.
Thompson’s Second Injury
The Warriors went 15-50 in their first season without Thompson. While preparing to return for the next season, he tore his Achilles. That injury caused him to miss his second consecutive season. The Warriors went on to go 39-33, securing the 8th seed, but they lost in the play-in tournament and failed to make the playoffs.
What Next Season Will Look Like For Thompson
Thompson likely won’t be ready to start the season, but he’s targeting a Christmas Day return. There aren’t many concerns about Klay’s shooting ability. He likely hasn’t forgotten how to shoot the ball. That alone will help out his fellow ‘Splash Brother’ Stephen Curry. Thompson will be able to relieve some of the stress Curry has been experiencing for the last two seasons. Defenders will still have to respect him, and even on off nights, he will be a decoy. There will be some questions surrounding his defense. It isn’t a guarantee that he returns to being an All-NBA level defender. Coming off two lower-body injuries, he will definitely be targeted until he proves himself.
What’s at Stake
There will be a bunch of pressure on Thompson to produce once he returns. If the Warriors start off the season poorly, that pressure will increase. They are hoping his return catapults them back into title contention. In a loaded Western Conference, it will be a challenge. The Warriors will have to fight their way back to the top.
Thompson is hyped for a potential midseason return.
On an Instagram Live, he said, “Yeah I’m balling out this season. By the grace of God, I will be balling. I’m going to bounce back, that’s a fact. I guarantee that.”
It’s not ideal to rely on a player that hasn’t played in two seasons, but that’s the reality of the situation for the Warriors. They have a championship window that they are looking to climb through. The ‘Splash Brothers’ will be reunited. There’s a lot to look forward to in Golden State, but it may take some time to come back together.