The Golden State Warriors have spent the last two seasons without a key ingredient to the success that led the team to five straight NBA Finals appearances.
On the evening of Friday, May 21, after the Warriors were eliminated from playoff contention, that key ingredient took to Instagram to issue a guarantee about what his return will mean for the Warriors next season.
“We fought through a lot of adversity this season, and it will pay dividends next season when we make another run at it,” Thompson wrote online, adding a trophy emoji to signify an NBA title run.
“While our season comes to an end, mine (is) just getting started, and I’ve never been hungrier. I TRULY BELIEVE my best ball lies ahead of me,” the All-Star guard continued. “We ain’t done, I promise you that.”
Steph Curry Echoes Thompson’s Comments on Upcoming Warriors Season
Thompson’s backcourt teammate Steph Curry appeared exhausted following a herculean effort to keep the Warriors’ season alive against the Memphis Grizzlies in the NBA’s final play-in tournament game.
While Golden State ultimately fell to the Grizz by a score of 117-112 in overtime, putting an end to the grind of an injury-plagued, COVID-interrupted season, Curry noticeably perked up when referencing the team’s prospects for next season.
“You don’t want to see us next year,” the point guard said Friday night.
The next time the Warriors step onto the court, it will be with a healthy Thompson. The occasion will mark the first time in 28 months that the core trio of the Warriors’ dynasty graces the starting lineup together (Curry, Thompson, and forward Draymond Green).
Golden State’s involuntary two-season timeout, which at times felt almost like some bizarre cosmic punishment for five years of nearly unprecedented success, will finally be over.
Warriors Have More to Look Forward to Next Season Than Just Thompson’s Return
Golden State will have several other advantages next season beyond just the return of the Splash Brothers to their backcourt.
Those advantages will likely include the Minnesota Timberwolves’ top-10 NBA Draft pick and options to develop or flip rookie standout James Wiseman based on what makes the most sense for the team.
Players like Jordan Poole and Juan Toscano-Anderson also got opportunities to shine during in-game experiences that would not have been likely without injuries to several of the Warriors top players. When they return to functioning more as role players, they are likely to bring increased value to those supporting roster spots.
“I’m really, really excited about what’s next for this group,” Golden State head coach Steve Kerr told reporters Friday night. “The young guys have grown and developed. That makes this a successful season for what it sets up for next year.”
Golden State forward Andrew Wiggins will also transition to the team’s third or fourth option on offense rather than their second option, rendering the Warriors’ attack on the offensive side of the ball far more formidable than it has been without Thompson the past two seasons.
If the pieces of the team fall the way it appears they will, and the Warriors can avoid the kind of catastrophic injury luck it has suffered over the previous two years, then Thompson’s guarantee makes considerable sense.