The Golden State Warriors have had one of the most interesting days in NBA history, and that may take a turn for the worst as Yahoo Sports Chris Haynes has reported their fear is star guard Klay Thompson may have suffered a huge Achilles injury.
News about Thompson’s injury broke just before the start of the 2020 NBA Draft. While some may have wanted the evening to celebrate the resurgence of the Warriors team, they now are awaiting the results of an MRI tomorrow per Haynes’ report.
While the full details of the injury will not be revealed until tomorrow, it already seems as if the Warriors’ hopes for a championship run this season have been dashed just as quickly as they were built. Without their star guard to carry some of the work throughout the season, the team will rely even more on their other two stars Steph Curry and Draymond Green, and the increased production from Andrew Wiggins and the newly drafted James Wiseman from the University of Memphis.
New Expectations for The Current Warriors
Given the massive blow this injury could deal to the Warriors, they will have to receive more on a nightly basis from their younger pieces. The first of those two being former #1 overall pick Andrew Wiggins. Coming to Golden State, Wiggins has averaged 22 points a game, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, and shot 33% from the three-point line.
Those numbers would typically be good for a third scoring option on a championship level team, however, they will not be enough this season with Thompson’s injury. Wiggins will need to step up into a bigger role playing alongside Cury and Green and showcase why he was worthy of being the former #1 pick in an NBA draft. Showing just how much he wants to win and to potentially negate some of the rumors of him not “wanting it” enough, he spoke to Warriors’ new Player-Mentor coach Leandro Barbosa and stated that he wants to be a champion with the Warriors.
“I talked to him about his (main) goal, and he said that he wants to be a champion,” Barbosa shared. “I said, ”You are in the right place.’ It’s a great place to be. You have the great players to be around.”
“To be honest it’s on him. He’s very talented on the offensive end – he can be on the defensive (end) also,” Barbosa continued. “We have to work a little bit, but if he’s willing to do that I’m sure he will be capable of doing it.”
Furthermore, the team will have to take a more assertive approach with their new rookie Wiseman. Prior to the injury, Wiseman would have had the luxury of solely focusing on the defensive end of the floor and rebounding consistently as the four former mentioned players would handle the scoring load. Having one of their top-tier players potentially out for an extended period, now means Wiseman will have to prove he can handle not just the defensive assignment and rebounding well but also being able to put the ball in the basket when need be.
At Memphis, Wiseman’s season was cut extremely short only playing in three games. However, in those three games, he was able to average 19.7 points, 10.7 rebounds, 3 blocks, and shooting 76% from the field. It would be outrageous to expect Wiseman to play that well to begin his career. But, if he is able to get close to a double double nightly, stay out of foul trouble, and grow within the Warriors system we could eventually see dominance similar to his collegiate days in the NBA.
With the way, the Warriors run their offense and how well they spread out defenses, either of these young players will have more of an opportunity than ever before to prove that they are the future the Warriors can lean on for this season and build around moving forward.
Starting Recovery All Over
This news sends shockwaves through the league but will ultimately affect Thompson the most. Coming off of a long recovery process for tearing his ACL in his left knee during the 2019 NBA Finals, Thompson was beginning to look like his previous self.
The Warriors had begun to share continuous practice footage from their workouts called the “Dubble” in which Thompson displayed flashes of what made him so great.
Moving forward this injury puts the Warriors in a very delicate situation with Thomspon. Already turning 31 this upcoming February, he may not play this entire season. If that is the case, the Warriors may need to begin to seriously consider at what point their triumphant trios time together has come to an end.
That’s not to say that they would need to. Given the scenario where Wiggins and Wiseman are both able to develop into high-quality players for the Warriors, Green, Curry, and Thompson may all have their careers extended being able to adapt and adjust to what’s needed to win.
Yet with every season that goes by with only one or two of their stars full healthy, the Warriors will need to ensure their foundation is as solid as it was before.