After more than two years away from the NBA, Golden State Warriors star Klay Thompson has a big guarantee for his return to the hardwood.
Thompson has been working hard to return from an Achilles injury that wiped out all of last season, which came after he had already lost the 2019-20 season to an ACL tear. While there has been some concern whether Thompson can return to his All-Star form, the Splash Brother offered some assurances this week, along with a guarantee for next season.
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Thompson Confident He Will Bounce Back
Thompson has been sharing much of his rehab with fans, posting frequent videos showing off his work in the gym and talking directly to fans through social media. In one Instagram Live session this week, Thompson promised that he would be back and just as good as ever.
“Yeah, I’m balling out this season,” Thompson said, via Josh Schrock of NBC Sports Bay Area. “By the grace of God, I will be balling. Injuries are no fun, but it’s part of sports. What can you do? … All you can do is keep moving forward for real. … I’m going to bounce back, that’s a fact. I guarantee that.”
The Warriors have been building for his return, surrounding the veteran core of Thompson, Steph Curry, and Draymond Green with a mix of promising young players and some veterans to round out the bench. The team added Otto Porter Jr. and Nemanja Bjelica to go along with lottery picks Moses Moody and Jonathan Kuminga.
After the Warriors fell short of the playoffs in both of the last two seasons without Thompson, many insiders see the team as a title contender with his return. SI.com’s Michael Shapiro put the Warriors at No. 9 in preseason power rankings, noting that the team can make some noise with Thompson back on the court. In his last season in the NBA, the 2018-19 campaign, Thompson averaged 21.5 points per game while hitting 40.2% from behind the three-point arc.
“There will be no shortage of intrigue in the Bay Area in 2021–22 after a two-year exile from the postseason,” he wrote. “And if things break right, we could see this team back in the Finals conversation sooner than later. A healthy Klay Thompson is, of course, critical to Golden State’s hopes, and the Warriors hope to coax greater consistency out of Andrew Wiggins in his third year with Golden State.”
Thompson Still Has a Ways to Go
If Thompson is able to follow through on his promise to ball out next season, it won’t happen right away. He has yet to return to full-contact practices, and ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne reported that the Warriors don’t expect him to get back into the lineup until several weeks after the season has started.
Shelburne noted that it will likely take 13 months to fully recover from the Achilles tear — similar to other players who have suffered the same injury — which would put him in line for one of the most marquee matchups on Golden State’s schedule.
“He’s doing well in his recovery, but the Warriors are targeting that Christmas day game against the [Phoenix] Suns for his return,” Shelburne said on ESPN’s “The Jump.”