Golden State Warriors fans have long awaited shooting guard Klay Thompson’s return to an NBA court. Thompson, who has not played in an NBA game for almost two and a half years, has recently been trending towards making a return sometime during the week of Christmas. Yesterday, he held a media availability that emphasized the importance of patience in his recovery as well as his trademark confidence in his own ability to return to pre-injury form. Here are some notes from that media availability:
Thompson Details Practice Scrimmages
This past weekend, Thompson was cleared for full practice with the team after reportedly looking good during 5-on-5 scrimmages. Here are some details on those scrimmages according to tweets by The Athletic’s Anthony Slater:
Klay Thompson said his scrimmages have been 4-minute quarters. He will ramp up to 5-minute, 6-minute, 7-minute quarters the next couple weeks. Eventually plan is to get to 12-minute quarters within a month: "That's when I'll be approaching gameplay."— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) November 23, 2021
Important quote from Klay Thompson today: "I don't fear getting hurt again."— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) November 23, 2021
He also details recent scrimmages with Zaza, Barbosa, Kuminga, Moody, JTA pic.twitter.com/hxlAyr592G
It’s nice to see that the Warriors are being cautious with Klay when it comes to his practice scrimmages. Slowly ramping up his minutes in practice is a good sign of how they will handle his minutes when he returns to live games. Even though there is no real equivalent to an NBA game, the Warriors tried their best by using young players on the team that needed extra reps, as well as a couple of former Warriors champions in Zaza Pachulia and Leandro Barbosa to simulate game speed.
Most importantly, it’s great to hear that Klay isn’t scared of getting hurt again. For most athletes who have suffered a significant injury, the biggest obstacle is usually the mental part of the recovery more than the physical part. Fortunately for Warriors fans, Klay is one of the most mentally tough athletes in the league today, so it may not be as big a problem for him as it is for others.
Thompson’s Thoughts on the Current Team
The Warriors are a league best 15-2 going into tonight’s game against the Philadelphia 76ers and have solidified themselves as championship contenders going forward. This team will only get better after adding Thompson back to the team as he details here:
Does Klay Thompson think the Warriors can win the title: "Oh, yeah. We're 15-2. It's a great indicator. Our defense is top 3 in the league along with our offense. And I'm not even out there yet. Think about that. Really think about that."— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) November 23, 2021
Full soundbite pic.twitter.com/S4t3qf0v16
Klay Thompson on Jordan Poole: "He's looking like he shoulda been a lotto pick" pic.twitter.com/hYKAvlFjoc— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) November 23, 2021
It’s hard not to root for the guy after seeing how excited he is for his teammates and to return to the court. He goes on to give a special shoutout to Jordan Poole who is starting in his place and has done a great job averaging 18 points, 3 rebounds, and 3 assists while playing in all 17 games this season. Although Klay’s return might mean the end of Poole as the starter for Golden State, don’t expect him to go away. Poole has proven more than capable of playing a significant role on the team and will be relied on heavily as they slowly work Klay back into game shape.
Thompson’s full media availability is worth a listen to and can be found here. Like Klay said, this Warriors team has everything trending right for them this season and it can only get better once he comes back. As far as when that is, here’s what he had to say about it:
Klay Thompson said he wants to come back in the first trimester of the season: “That’s one-third, right? A trimester?” pic.twitter.com/acPEJMfAzH— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) November 23, 2021
Never change Klay, never change.