The last time Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson shared a court together during an NBA game, the Golden State Warriors were coming off a Game 5 victory over the Toronto Raptors and were just two wins away from a third-straight title.
That may seem like a lifetime ago in the Bay Area after Thompson suffered back-to-back season-ending injuries, but Mychal Thompson, Klay's father, believes Golden State will flourish again once it's top two stars are reunited.
“Physically, you know, he’s gonna come around," Thompson told NewsTalk 830 WCCO. "... Emotionally is where it’s tough. Mentally, having to sit out two straight years because of a major injury when he’s in his prime. That’s very frustrating ... Him and Steph Curry will pick up right where they left off.”
Thompson tore the ACL in his left knee in Game 6 of the 2019 NBA Finals and was preparing to return for the 2020-21 season. Only weeks before training camps were set to begin, the shooting guard suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon during a work out in Los Angeles that would require him to miss another season with the team.
All the while, the Warriors have noticeably struggled to maintain their status as the league's top franchise. The rival Los Angeles Lakers won the championship last year while an injury-riddled Golden State club wound up as a lottery team.
This year hasn't been much of an improvement, either. Offensive struggles from Kelly Oubre Jr.—who was essentially acquired to replace Thompson in the lineup this year—along with a defense allowing the seventh-most points per game (114.7) have the Warriors (9-8) treading water in a Pacific Division with two legitimate title contenders in the Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers.
As much as Mychal Thompson believes Klay will return to the court healthy and ready to contribute, enough has happened during his absence to wonder if the Warriors can truly return to their powerhouse days.
It's a legitimate question that Mychal believes he has the answer to. Whether or not the Warriors are able to return to the Finals will prove if he's right.