Klay Thompson was playing some of the best basketball of his career during the 2019 NBA Finals. He hit two big 3-pointers late in the Golden State Warriors Game 5 win over the Toronto Raptors, helping the Dubs stay alive and force a Game 6.
With the sixth-game back in Oakland, Thompson looked like he wasn’t going to let the Warriors lose. He was four-for-six from beyond the arc and had 30 points with 2:22 left in the third quarter when disaster struck.
Thompson landed awkwardly after a fast-break dunk and tore his ACL. With Kevin Durant tearing his achilles earlier in the series, the shorthanded Warriors lost the game and series to the Raptors.
The Dubs had made five-straight NBA Finals appearances from 2015-2019, winning three championships, but once Durant signed with the Brooklyn Nets in free agency last summer, many pundits said that the Golden State dynasty was over.
Thompson takes issue with anyone who says the Warriors are finished. He is the focus of a documentary by Kaiser Permanent which is chronicling his rehab in preparation to return for the 2020-21 season.
“It just kills me inside when I see these other teams, so many talking heads and some of my peers saying the dynasty is over, they had a great run,” Thompson said in the video. “I have so much more to give this game, but patience definitely builds character.”
People forget the core of Thompson, Steph Curry and Draymond Green led Golden State to a championship in 2015, followed by a record 73-9 season in 2016. Although the Dubs have lost key contributors Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston, they have enough assets to build around the trio to be back in championship contention next season.
Barring a miracle, Golden State will have a top-five pick in the upcoming NBA Draft and general manager Bob Myers was able to acquire a top-three-protected 2021 pick from the Minnesota Timberwolves. The Warriors also have a $17.2 million trade exception from the Iguodala deal and their own 2021 pick to try and get some new pieces to keep the title window open.
I am excited to see what a motivated Thompson, Curry and Green will do next season. When the Warriors were on their historic run, you expected them to be in the Finals each year. Looking around the NBA, the Los Angeles Lakers, L.A. Clippers and Milwaukee Bucks should be the Dubs’ main competition next season. None of those three teams are flawless, so if Myers can add a veteran player or two to come off the bench, there is no reason tot think the Warriors can’t win.
Do you think people are writing off the Warriors too soon?