Warriors

Klay says Dubs will contend next year, Wiseman to be All-Star

Warriors
Klay and Steph celebrating

The Warriors entered Sunday's game against the Utah Jazz with a .500 record and on the fringes of the Western Conference playoff race.

Most fans expect things to change when Klay Thompson returns from his second straight season-ending leg injury at the beginning of next season.

Thompson himself also believes the Warriors will be right back where they were when he first suffered a torn left ACL in Game 6 of the 2019 NBA Finals against the Toronto Raptors.

"I anticipate us being right back in contention for a championship again," Thompson told reporters in a video conference call Sunday, his first meeting with the media since sustaining a torn right Achilles in November. "This year has been tough, obviously, with the pandemic and so many new players on the team. I love our group though. I think we have a great group. These guys come to work every day. They're eager to be great players."

The Warriors currently hold one of the Western Conference play-in spots, and would need to make a real run over the final 33 games after Sunday to jump up to the six-seed and avoid having to participate in the play-in round.

Thompson doesn't think it's out of the question.

"We have so much basketball left to play," Thompson said. "Although our record doesn't reflect how good I think we are, I think we will still make a run here, finish with a solid record and make a push in the playoffs."

 

When Thompson returns next season, he'll get a chance to play with dynamic No. 2 overall draft pick James Wiseman, and the five-time NBA All-Star had high praise for the rookie, who has had his ups and downs this season.

"I love the guys on our team and I love James' ability," Thompson said. "I think James is going to be a perennial All-Star one day. He doesn't know how good he is yet. I mean, who really does when they're 19 years old. But he just has physical abilities and talent that you just can't teach. So James is gonna hopefully going to extend this dynastic run for years to come because he has that much ability in him."

The Warriors are banking on Wiseman extending their window to contend beyond the primes of Thompson, Steph Curry and Draymond Green.

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Wiseman still is just 19, as Thompson said, so he has plenty of time to develop into a franchise-changing player, just like Thompson, Curry and Green did at the beginning of last decade.

Warriors fans are salivating at the thought of Wiseman, with a full year of NBA experience under his belt, playing with the core three next season. And it sounds like Thompson can't wait, either.

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