Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry was moved to tears when he learned he would make his return to the court without Klay Thompson by his side, he told Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated on Monday:
"He's the best 2-guard in the league. To get that call was a gut punch for sure. A lot of tears. You don't really know what to say because a guy like that is having to go through two pretty serious rehabs now. But at the end of the day, we have to have his back. We hope that he is around and a part of what we do through his rehab and staying connected with us.
"He can come back strong. He's a guy that loves the game so much. He is going to do whatever it takes to get back out there on the floor and be himself. That's what we hope and the confidence that we have. Two-and-a-half years of rehab is tough for anybody. We're hoping for the best."
The returns of Curry, who played just five games last season because of a broken hand, and Thompson, who tore his ACL in Game 6 of the 2019 NBA Finals, had been highly anticipated after the Warriors went 15-50 in 2019-20, but Thompson suffered an Achilles injury Wednesday and will miss the upcoming season.
The pair have played together since 2011, when Thompson was drafted out of Washington State by the Warriors with the 11th pick. Curry, a Davidson product, was the seventh pick two years prior. Together, they have appeared in five NBA Finals and won three, making the playoffs every season from 2012-13 to 2018-19.
Curry also acknowledged the front office's work this offseason. In the wake of Thompson's injury, Golden State traded for Kelly Oubre Jr., who posted career highs of 18.7 points, 6.4 rebounds and 34.5 minutes per game with the Phoenix Suns last season. The Warriors selected former Memphis center James Wiseman with the second overall pick as well. Curry said:
"It's going to [be] hard at first, for sure. We've been waiting seven months to get back out there. Not seeing [Thompson] on the court, at first, is going to be weird. But I think we've done a really good job in the offseason with James and our draft picks and in the free agency pool to put together a really solid roster. We're going to have to learn a lot really quickly, and we will need a full commitment from everybody."
With Curry back to command a new-look roster, the Warriors will be forced to look beyond what could have been if Thompson were to return and instead focus on what Curry said is the team's goal: beating the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers.