Klay Thompson 'eager to prove' Warriors dynasty not dead in return to court

Klay Thompson 'eager to prove' Warriors dynasty not dead in return to court

All Klay Thompson could do was watch and wait.

The Warriors star guard spent all season away from the hardwood rehabbing the torn ACL he suffered in Game 6 of the 2019 NBA Finals loss to the Toronto Raptors. He watched his backcourt mate Steph Curry go down with a broken hand. He watched teams pile it on the injury-depleted Warriors, rubbing it in after years of feeling helpless against the onslaught brought on by Thompson, Curry, Kevin Durant and Draymond Green. He listened as pundits proclaimed the Warriors' dynasty dead, talking about it in the past tense as if it wasn't on pause. 

Thompson was "crushed" to not suit up with his teammates. But he has been taking notes during his rehab. Remembering the questions and doubts. Once healthy, Thompson will be more motivated than ever to prove to those who left the Warriors for dead that they are far from finished.

"It just kills me inside when I see these other teams, so many talking heads and some of my peers saying, 'The dynasty is over, they had a great run.'" Thompson said in "Above The Water," a short documentary chronicling his rehab. "I have so much more to give this game, but patience definitely builds character. You don't have to prove anything anymore, you know? You have three championships. Multiple All-Star appearances.

"I'll just be that eager to prove everyone wrong again."

Thompson arguably was playing the best basketball of his career before the ACL injury. In five Finals games, he averaged 26.0 points per game while shooting 54.1 percent from the floor and 58.5 percent from 3-point range (24-for-41).

[RELATED: Bosh believes Warriors 'had more of a dynasty' than Heat]

After years at the top, the Warriors had a pause year. Thompson, unable to help, was forced to watch while his team suffered loss after loss with him and Curry on the bench.

The five-time All-Star is expected to be 100 percent to start next season, and that's when the revenge tour begins.

[RUNNIN' PLAYS PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

NBA rumors: G league team for elite prospects coming to Walnut Creek

NBA rumors: G league team for elite prospects coming to Walnut Creek

A new professional basketball team is coming to the Bay Area.

Yes, you read that right.

The Ultimate Fieldhouse sports complex -- where Warriors superstar Steph Curry has hosted his Under Armour Select Camp -- is expected to be the team's home.

Back in mid-April, Jalen Green -- the potential No. 1 overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft -- announced he was signing with the professional pathway program.

[RUNNIN' PLAYS PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

Since then, several additional elite prospects have signed contracts with the squad. And in June, Oakland native Brian Shaw -- who served as an analyst for Warriors coverage on NBC Sports Bay Area last season -- was named head coach.

The team originally was going to be based in Southern California, but plans changed. And it's unclear at this point how the coronavirus pandemic will impact how it competes against the rest of the NBA G League franchises.

[RELATED: Why Warriors GM Myers got Forrest Gump nickname at UCLA]

The Warriors currently possess the Minnesota Timberwolves' top-three protected first-round pick in the 2021 NBA Draft. Assuming they don't trade the selection, and assuming NBA executives will be allowed to scout the prospects in person, Golden State general manager Bob Myers and the rest of the front office just might be spending a decent amount of time in Walnut Creek during the winter.

Follow @DrewShiller on Twitter and Instagram

Blazers' Damian Lillard wanted name of Oakland's Oscar Grant on jersey

Blazers' Damian Lillard wanted name of Oakland's Oscar Grant on jersey

Portland Trail Blazers star point guard Damian Lillard is wearing "How Many More" on the back of his jersey during the NBA's restart in Orlando as a protest against police brutality. 

If it were up to him, however, the back of his jersey would look much different. 

Lillard, an Oakland native, hoped to honor the late Oscar Grant. When Grant, a Black man, was just 22 years old, he was killed in the early morning hours of New Year's Day in 2009 by BART Police Officer Johannes Mehserle in Oakland. Grant's death was turned into the award-winning movie, "Fruitvale Station" in 2013.

The five-time All-Star wasn't allowed to wear Grant's name on his jersey, though. The NBA is allowing players to wear social justice messages on the back of their jersey, but they must come from a selected list. 

[RELATED: Kerr: 'Message is clear' in why NBA players, coaches kneel]

The NBA has pained "Black Lives Matter" along the courts in Orlando. Players and coaches are showing unity, with many kneeling together during the national anthem. And voices have been heard throughout interviews, with many calling for the arrest of Breonna Taylor's murderers. 

But if the league is going to help choose how you can protest, it falls short. There's no reason why Lillard shouldn't be allowed to honor Oscar Grant on the back of his jersey.

[RUNNIN' PLAYS PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]