It was a heartbreaking bit of news, though it is not quite certain what the outcome will be. But just ahead of the 2020 NBA draft, word spread that Warriors guard Klay Thompson had suffered an injury to his lower right leg and was unable to put pressure on the leg as he exited the practice court on Wednesday.
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The injury is not related to the torn ACL Thompson suffered in the 2019 NBA Finals. That injury came to his left knee and had kept him out for all of last season as he rehabbed. Thompson had returned to practice with his teammates but had not appeared in a game since June 2019.
The fact that the injury came to his lower left leg had many fearful it could be an Achilles tendon injury, though that was not confirmed.
Several players tweeted out their support and hopes for Thompson—most prominent among them being Lakers star LeBron James.
Warriors teammate Draymond Green chimed in on Twitter, too.
Klay Thompson Injury Came Just Before 2020 NBA Draft
The injury to Thompson came just ahead of the start of the 2020 NBA draft, in which the Warriors held the No. 2 pick. Golden State had a number of options with the pick and was weighing trade possibilities. It is uncertain whether the injury to Thompson changed Golden State’s thinking on their approach to the pick.
Rather than trading the pick, though, the Warriors stuck with picking the player they had been targeting for a while, selecting Memphis big man James Wiseman. There could yet be more moves ahead for the Warriors.
The team went to the NBA Finals in the Western Conference for five straight years before last season, when they failed to make the playoffs and posted a record of 15-50, the fourth-worst mark in franchise history. Green played 43 games last season, but Thompson did not play at all and former MVP Stephen Curry played only five games.
The Warriors were not among the 22 teams that participated in the NBA reboot this summer in Orlando.
Warriors Poised to Return to Contender Status
Golden State was able to withstand the terrible record last season, though, in part because they knew there would be a relatively easy rise back to contender’s status. The Warriors did lose Kevin Durant in free agency after the 2019 Finals, but still had a core of Green, Curry and Thompson and were able too bring back star point guard D’Angelo Russell as part of a Durant sign-and-trade.
Ahead of the deadline, they made a deal with Minnesota, sending Russell to Minnesota for Andrew Wiggins and the Timberwolves’ No. 1 pick next season. Golden State also dealt away Andre Iguodala last summer, creating a major trade exception that the team can use to absorb a veteran without trading away another piece.
That has left the Warriors with plenty of capital to fill out its team and get back to their usual spot among the NBA’s elite. But that was all dependent on a return to health by both Curry and Thompson. For Thompson, that appears to be in jeopardy.