Warriors Coach Reveals What Klay’s Role Will Be Upon His Return

Klay Thompson Steve Kerr Warriors

Getty Golden State Warriors star Klay Thompson and head coach Steve Kerr react during Game 4 of the 2019 NBA Finals against the Toronto Raptors.

Speculation about Klay Thompson’s return date has run rampant recently, which should come as no surprise given that the Golden State Warriors star has been back on the court for several weeks now. However, the team has yet to announce when it will happen.

For his part, NBA insider Shams Charania believes that Thompson could return on January 9 against the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Regardless of when he comes back, though, the bigger question may be what exactly the Warriors plan to do with him once he’s in the fold again. After all, Thompson may be a five-time All-Star and one of the greatest shooters in league history, but there’s no telling how he’ll hold up during an actual game after his injuries.

Nevertheless, Warriors coach Steve Kerr just revealed that he has already determined what Thompson’s spot in the rotation will be.

Kerr: Klay Is Going to Start

Team Scrimmage in Denver | Golden State WarriorsKlay scrimmages with the team during practice in Denver.2021-12-31T20:07:45Z

After the Warriors held a scrimmage — in which Thompson participated — on Thursday in Denver, Kerr spoke to the media about his returning star. When asked what the team’s lineup would be upon his return, the coach was quick to state that he would play with the starters, as per his usual.

“Yeah, I am starting to think about [lineups],” he said, via The Athletic’s Anthony Slater. “Klay’s gonna start when he comes back. I’m not gonna mess around and bring him off the bench for a period of time. I’m not doing any of that — he’s gonna start.”

Although he expressed a level of certainty about Thompson’s spot, he had less clarity on how that would impact the rest of his rotation.

In Thompson’s absence, Andrew Wiggins has emerged as one of the better No. 2 options in the Association. Meanwhile, Jordan Poole has gone from coming off the bench to starting in Thompson’s old spot at the two and averaging 17.9 points per game. Damion Lee has been a consistent presence off the bench as well.

As Kerr sees it, though, the sheer number of talented wing players on his team is a good problem to have.

“We’ll see what that means in terms of the rest of the rotation,” he said. “I know one thing — we’ve got a whole lot of guys who are capable of playing and being in the rotation and helping us win games. So, it’s not going to be easy; on the other hand, it’s way better than the alternative.”

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Steph & Klay Connect During Scrimmage

While Thompson’s individual attributes will undoubtedly aid in the Warriors’ quest to reclaim their championship form, his on-court connection with Stephen Curry is perhaps an equally important aspect of his return. For his part, Kerr noted that the two were able to link up throughout Thursday’s scrimmage.

“There were possessions where they were feeding off each other and it’s just fun to see,” Kerr said. “It’s been over two years. Those guys have such a history together and so, for me, it was just fun to sit back and see them smiling and on the court together.”

During their last full season together — the 2018-19 campaign — the Warriors outscored opponents by 13.6 points per 100 possessions when Steph and Klay shared the court.


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