Klay Thompson not playing basketball is torturous — for him and NBA fans everywhere
After tearing his left ACL in Game 6 of the 2019 NBA Finals against the Toronto Raptors, it was a given Klay Thompson would miss the 2019-2020 season for the Golden State Warriors. Steph Curry and Draymond Green were also out of significant amounts of time due to injury, and the Warriors finished 15-50.
After trading D’Angelo Russell, Jacob Evans III, Omari Spellman and a 2021 second round pick to the Minnesota Timberwolves for Andrew Wiggins and their 2021 first round pick (top 3 protected, but still, ouch) things were starting to look up for Dub Nation. Chalk 2019-2020 up as a rest year for one of the greatest dynasties in basketball, and as an opportunity to use a high draft pick to reload (that pick became James Wiseman, who, prior to spraining his wrist, has had a solid rookie season).
Fighting for another chance at the title was out the window for 2020, but acquiring Wiggins and Wiseman added some much needed depth and talent for the following year. Thompson, Curry and Green would return, and things would start to feel a bit more normal for the team from The Bay. The coming season looked to be one of promise.
Then, heartbreak came that none of us could have foreseen. Thompson tore his right Achilles tendon during a workout in mid-November, roughly five weeks before the start of the impending season. He’d miss a second consecutive season.
While the second half of the Splash Bros is expected to make a full recovery, that doesn’t make it hurt any less for DubNation and NBA fans everywhere.
Thompson is arguably one of the most exciting players to ever step on a basketball court. Considering he has the league record for most points scored in a quarter with 37, it’d be quite difficult to devise an argument against that statement.
Every time the Washington State product makes his way to the hardwood, he has the potential to immediately impact a game. Thompson’s catch and shoot capabilities are nearly unmatched in basketball lore, with names like Ray Allen, Kyle Korver and teammate Steph Curry being the only ones that may be brought up in the same conversation.
There was a night where the five-time all star scored 60 points on 11 dribbles. 11.
And we don’t even need to talk about Game 6 Klay.
(Okay, yes we do. LOOK AT THESE STAT LINES.
- May 28, 2016 at OKC: 41 PTS, 11 3PTM, 61.1 3PT%
- Jun. 16, 2016 at CLE: 25 PTS, 3 3PTM, 30.0 3PT%
- May 26, 2018 vs. HOU: 35 PTS, 9 3PTM, 64.3 3PT%
- May 10, 2019 at HOU: 27 PTS, 7 3PTM, 53.8 3PT%
- Jun. 13, 2019 vs. TOR: 30 PTS, 4 3PTM, 66.7 3PT%)
Thompson is also a two-way player. With his talent and skill set offensively, he’d be more than passable as a stud on that end and nothing more than that in today’s league. But no, Thompson’s perimeter defense is among the best in the league, catapulting his value to astronomical heights.
The member of the 2018-2019 All-Defensive second team can fill up the hoop and deny your first or second best player from scoring at will.
Throw all of it together plus the fact that Thompson is a three-time NBA Champion and has played alongside two of the other greatest shooters of all time in Curry and Kevin Durant, and the story of of basketball can’t be told without him. Thompson’s impact on the league is undeniable.
It hurts to see Klay on the sideline. While the Warriors are currently in the NBA playoff picture with a 14-13 record, sitting eighth in the Western Conference, it’s tough to imagine where they’d be with the star power of Thompson. One would have to guess the Warriors wouldn’t have been beaten by 15+ points in six of their 13 losses so far this season, and that Thompson would have been able to turn the tides a bit in six their single-digit losses.
And even if one prefers Golden State’s dynasty die a quick, fiery death, how could they root against a guy with such high entertainment value? A player that clearly wants so badly to be out on the court with his teammates? A player that, despite the aforementioned ACL injury still shot his free throws in Game 6 of the NBA Finals?
For anyone too proud to say it, I’ll put it forth for you — we miss you, Klay. Get well soon.