At 12-2, the Warriors currently have the best record in the NBA and made a huge statement Tuesday night with a 117-99 thrashing of the Brooklyn Nets at Barclays Center.
Doing all of this without Klay Thompson makes the Warriors' start all the more impressive. But the sharpshooting guard's return is nearing, and Draymond Green knows how big Thompson's return will be for Golden State.
"I mean from a mental standpoint alone, it's huge," Green said after the Warriors' win over the Nets. "I think it also helps with the way other teams view you as well. We're looking forward to getting him back. We know what he brings to the table. We're not expecting him to be Klay Thompson of 2018 right away, but he has worked his ass off. He has worked his ass off for this moment and I'm looking forward to getting him back out there."
Warriors coach Steve Kerr gave an update on Thompson prior to the game in Brooklyn, noting the five-time All-Star recently started playing 5-on-5.
"Yeah, he played 5-on-5 yesterday and I think he is going to play 5-on-5 tomorrow," Kerr said of Thompson's rehab. "I got good reports and he has got to keep going. A two-year absence requires a lot of work. Not just the rehab but the endurance, strength. It's great that he is playing 5-on-5, but that doesn't mean he is going to be ready to step on an NBA floor next week. But he is progressing really well."
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After two years away from an NBA floor, Thompson is itching to rejoin the Warriors and help them reclaim their place at the top of the league.
Thompson has heard the criticism about the Warriors' early-season success, with some pointing to a soft schedule as reason to not fully buy that the Warriors are back. He hopes the doubters keep that same energy all season.
"I love it. I love it," Thompson told Sports Illustrated's Howard Beck about people believing the Warriors' start is a mirage. "I hope people keep doubting us. I saw somebody on the TV the other day talking about, 'The Warriors aren't contenders because they've had a soft schedule.' Buddy, we got the MVP, a Defensive Player of the Year. That kind of disrespect bothers me. We have so many champions, guys who have done it in the highest pressure moments, and you're still gonna question our ability? I love it. But whatever. That's what talking heads are paid to do."
The Warriors spent two years wandering through the NBA wilderness, but finally are back and Thompson's looming return is adding even more juice to a team of champions motivated to silence all of their doubters.