After tearing his ACL in Game 6 of the 2019 Finals, then tearing his Achilles tendon just prior to the start of of the 2020-21 season, Klay Thompson has not played in an NBA basketball game in over two-and-a-half calendar years. That could change very soon.
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowksi, there is optimism that Thompson could return this coming Sunday (Jan. 9), at home, against the Cleveland Cavaliers. That’s not official. Wojnarowski notes that a final decision is expected once the Warriors return from their road trip on Friday.
With Kyrie Irving reportedly expected to make his season debut for the Nets on Wednesday, this marks two contenders getting two All-Stars back in the lineup. The Warriors, for all the success they’ve had this season, couldn’t be adding Thompson at a better time.
Quietly, the Warriors have just the 20th-ranked offense since Dec. 1, and Stephen Curry is having the worst shooting season of his career percentage-wise (40 percent from 3, 43 percent from the field). Theres no telling how long it will take for Thompson to get his game legs back, let alone his complete basketball rhythm, and who knows if physically he’ll ever be quite the same. This is especially uncertain on the defensive end.
But we know Thompson can shoot in his sleep. And as long as he can do that, defenses are not going to be able to focus on Curry quite as heavily has they have been. It’s a whole different ballgame blitzing Curry with two defenders when it allows for a 4-on-3 advantage with Draymond Green at the helm and Thompson spotting up.
Steve Kerr has already said Thompson will be in the starting lineup immediately upon his return, which moves Jordan Poole to the sixth man role. Poole is a tailor-made scorer off the bench.
This is going to be quite a moment when Thompson returns in front of his home fans, He is beloved in the Bay Area and around the league as a whole. You’d be hard pressed to find a more popular player among his NBA peers. Everyone, even the teams competing against Golden State for a title, is going to be happy to see Klay back on the court.