Klay Thompson was at the peak of his basketball powers when he tore his ACL during Game 6 of the 2019 NBA Finals. After a year of rehabbing his knee, a torn Achilles last November robbed the Warriors star of another full season in his prime.
Thompson now has gone through two grueling rehab processes. The Warriors are anticipating Thompson stepping back onto the court for the first time in over two years around Christmas.
But what will the five-time NBA All-Star look like upon his return? In a season preview interview with Sirius XM, Thompson gave some insight into how he expects to play when he makes his triumphant return after two years on the sidelines.
“But I was playing the best basketball of my life in 2019 when I get hurt," Thompson said. "I expect to get back there. Not right away just because that was 100 games worth of work and incredible shape. But when I step back on the floor I’m gonna be a very effective player. Maybe not what I was doing shooting the ball like I was, but I will still be really good. And I will just keep going up – and I really believe that."
Kevin Durant and John Wall's recovery from a torn Achilles should give Thompson, the Warriors and their fans reason to believe that the star guard can eventually get close to the level he was at in 2019.
Thompson has looked great early in training camp, according to head coach Steve Kerr. But Thompson's defensive ability, not his shooting, will be the biggest question mark when he returns.
Kerr told reporters that Thompson will make his return during a home game, ensuring the three-time NBA champion gets a raucous ovation from the Chase Center faithful.
Steph Curry knows it will be a special moment when his Splash Brother takes the court with him again.
"It's going to be beautiful," Curry told reporters during his Media Day press conference. "Beautiful basketball. Honestly, it's probably going to be emotional, for sure, because of everything we talked about. But I'm excited that it's as close as it's ever been, and will continue to get that way. I know the crowd is going to show him so much love, like he deserves."
Thompson's long road back to the NBA almost is complete, and he is confident he will be able to get back to the level he was at when he last took the floor for the Warriors.
If Thompson does eventually return to that level, the Warriors will have legitimate title aspirations.