Klay Thompson could do nothing but stew as the Golden State Warriors season ended in heartbreaking fashion.
The injured guard watched from the sidelines as the Warriors fell to the Memphis Grizzlies in overtime on Friday, making them the first team in NBA history to be eliminated from playoff contention by the No. 9 seed. The Warriors blew two chances to make the playoffs in the league’s new play-in tournament, and reports say that Thompson was furious at the result.
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Video Shows Klay in Dismay
One season after winning just 15 games and sinking to the bottom of the NBA, the Warriors saw something of a bounce-back season. Despite injuries to Thompson and a host of others, Golden State managed a 39-33 record and an eighth-place finish, putting them in the top half of the play-in bracket. Despite two chances to play their way into the playoffs, the Warriors fell to the Los Angeles Lakers and Grizzlies in close contests.
Friday’s loss appeared to be especially difficult for Thompson. A video shared on Twitter by The Athletic’s Anthony Slater showed him watching restlessly in the final minutes, pacing nervously and placing his head in his hands at one point. Thompson also dribbled a ball and feigned a shot while his teammates were huddled.
After the loss, Monte Poole of NBC Sports Bay Area reported that Thompson was “furious” with the result.
Thompson didn’t seem to let the anger show, however. Following the loss, he took to Instagram to write that he was proud of his teammates and how they fought through adversity during the season. He said that the challenges this year will “pay dividends next season when we make another run at it.”
Warriors Look to Bounce Back
With Thompson expected to return next season and a potential high draft pick in hand from the Minnesota Timberwolves, the Warriors are looking to jump back into contention in a competitive Western Conference. After Friday’s loss, many key players expressed optimism that they could return to the peak. Draymond Green admitted that the team has some work to do, but believes that a return is within reach.
“We got a ways to go because we’re not in the playoffs. So we’re far away,” Green said, via USA Today. “Because in order to win a championship, we have to be in the playoffs. So we’re clearly a ways away. A few tweaks here and there, we’re not that far. But right now we’re a ways away because we’re not in the playoffs.”
Golden State head coach Steve Kerr shared the sentiment, saying the team has an exciting future ahead and still has a title-ready core of players. The Minnesota pick also gives the Warriors an asset that could be used to score a promising young player or flipped in a trade for someone who could bring a more immediate impact.
“We’ve got some assets with possibly a couple of first-round picks and some great, great veteran players like Steph, Draymond and obviously Klay coming back will change a lot about our team,” Kerr said, via USA Today. “So very exciting. We got a lot of work to do this summer. But we’re all excited about it.”