Warriors

Mychal Thompson makes NBA playoff predictions, talks Klay's ACL rehab

Mychal Thompson makes NBA playoff predictions, talks Klay's ACL rehab

Warriors guard Klay Thompson tore his left ACL on June 13 during Game 6 of the NBA Finals against the Toronto Raptors.

On July 2, the five-time All-Star underwent surgery to repair the ligament.

He is expected to return in about seven months:

"Klay is a guy who's gonna work hard to come back," Mychal Thompson said Monday afternoon on KNBR 680. "Everybody heals differently but he's gonna work really hard to come back next season.

"They're gonna be monitoring him really closely. Klay will let them know how he feels. They'll put him through a million paces and all kinds of drills -- 5-on-5 drills -- before he's allowed to play again.

'You can trust the Warriors training staff and team doctors. Medicine and rehab is so advanced that everybody will know if he's ready to go or not."

Klay signed a five-year max contract worth just under $190 million, and there's no way the Dubs will rush him back whatsoever.

That means he'll likely miss the start of the season in a now-loaded Western Conference. Now that the dust has settled following a crazy free-agent period, who is the team to beat?

"The Lakers are back to being the favorites to win the title again," Mychal declared. "I've been hearing about how the Clippers are the best team. If it was a 2-on-2 game, obviously everybody out there would take LeBron and AD over Kawhi and Paul George.

"The Lakers have a better roster. Better players ... the Lakers are loaded. They're the best two teams in the West right now. I'm aleady expecting the Western Conference finals to be played in Staples Center -- unless Klay comes back and he's healthy and he's 100 percent to go, and then the Warriors are right back in the mix."

It's hard to disagree with anything Mychal said. Nobody will want to face the Dubs in mid-April if Klay is back and the rest of the roster is completely healthy.

And don't worry Dub Nation -- Mychal is not one of the people predicting the Warriors will miss the playoffs.

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"Oklahoma City is gonna be the only team that's gonna drop out of the top eight," he said. "All the other seven teams that qualified for the playoffs last year are gonna be right back in it."

Once again, yours truly agrees with the No. 1 overall pick in the 1978 NBA Draft.

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Warriors' Kevon Looney details injury rehab, dieting in HEADSTRONG

Warriors' Kevon Looney details injury rehab, dieting in HEADSTRONG

Kevon Looney was a McDonald's All-American and named Wisconsin's Mr. Basketball as a high school senior. He spent just one season at UCLA before the Warriors took him with the No. 30 pick in the 2015 NBA Draft at only 19 years old.

And then, his life as a basketball star quickly was derailed. Looney had two hip surgeries early in his career and only played in five games as a rookie. 

"It was really frustrating," Looney said in a segment during NBC Sports' documentary "HEADSTRONG: Mental Health and Sports." "Coming into the league, you have these dreams that I'm gonna take the league by storm, and my first year I was really just sidelined."

Looney struggled mightily with the mental side of his rehab. Basketball was his passion and a major part of his identity. He says he leaned heavily on his family during the dark times away from a basketball court. 

Years later, Looney sees the positive of dealing with adversity. It was through these tough times that he really learned about the importance of having a healthy diet. He always could eat what he wanted and be a great athlete. 

He needed to open his ears and make a change. 

"That's when I really learned how to be healthy," Looney said. "I really had to learn about my body and how to take care of my body. I had a couple veterans like Andre Iguodala telling me to eat right and do those type of things and I didn't really listen because I'm 19, 20. I gained a bunch of weight when I came back from the injury and really didn't feel right, so I changed up my diet." 

Looney lost nearly 30 pounds over six weeks when he made a change to his diet. His minutes continued to increase the past few seasons, and he now is a key player for the Warriors.

The 23-year-old signed a three-year, $15 million contract to remain with the Warriors this past offseason. He currently is on the mend with a neuropathic issue, but should be able to lean on lessons learned from the past to combat the mental gymnastics of being away from basketball. 

Looney wants to be a role model for those who are struggling, especially with their weight and diet. 

"I'm one of those people where I struggle with changing my diet, and I just want you to know that it's possible," Looney said. "The beginning of it is always hard, but if you stay discipline, you can change your life. You can live longer and be there for your loved ones and you can help people. You can be a walking testament.

"There's a lot of people that struggle with weight and I've been one of those guys, but if you can be discipline, you can take your life to another level."

Looney's struggles through rehab and how he learned how to be healthier will be discussed during Wednesday night's edition of Warriors Pregame Live as well as Warriors Postgame Live on NBC Sports Bay Area before and after Golden State plays the Portland Trail Blazers.

You can watch all of the "HEADSTRONG: Mental Health and Sports" vignettes right here. The full documentary will be playing all month on NBC Sports Bay Area and NBC Sports California.

Check our channel listings page for times and dates.

Warriors execs scout top 2020 NBA draft prospect James Wiseman up close

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USATSI

Warriors execs scout top 2020 NBA draft prospect James Wiseman up close

The Warriors likely will pick much higher than they've gotten used to in June's NBA draft. 

Golden State is a league-worst 2-9 this season, appearing like a lock to keep the top-20 protected 2020 first-round pick the Warriors sent to the Brooklyn Nets as part of the Kevin Durant sign-and-trade. The Warriors would have no shortage of options if they picked at -- or around -- the top of the draft, and their front office got an in-person glimpse at Memphis center James Wiseman on Tuesday night, according to The Athletic's John Hollinger. 

Wiseman, plagued by foul trouble early, finished with 14 points and 12 rebounds as Memphis lost to Oregon on Tuesday night.

Wiseman will be one of, if not the best player available in the draft. The 7-foot freshman center averaged 22.5 points, 10.0 rebounds and 4.0 blocks per game entering Tuesday's game, and the 18-year-old has the upside to develop into something the Warriors have not had in the Steve Kerr era: A truly dominant big man.

[RELATED: Warriors' injury report still growing through trying season]

How much more Wiseman will play this season remains to be seen. The NCAA ruled Wiseman ineligible for taking $11,500 from current Memphis coach Penny Hardaway in order to help Wiseman's family move when he transferred to play for Memphis East, the high school Hardaway was coaching at the time. A Shelby County, Tenn. judge placed an immediate temporary restraining order on the college athletics governing body shortly after the NCAA's ruling. Plus, as SB Nation's Ricky O'Donnell noted, Memphis has not ruled Wiseman ineligible and the Tigers plan to continue playing him. 

Myers' presence at the Phil Knight Invitational in Portland, as well as that of Harris and Dunleavy, suggests the Warriors are taking their new reality very seriously. Golden State will need the lottery balls to bounce its way, too, in order to select Wiseman, but the Warriors should have done their due diligence by then, at least.