- Programming note: Steph Curry's "Dubs Talk" interview with Kerith Burke and Monte Poole debuts Wednesday on NBC Sports Bay Area following "Dubs Talk Live."
Watching Klay Thompson make his triumphant return to the court last season, help lead the Warriors to their fourth NBA championship and now, in his age 33 season, work to evolve his game has inspired many on and off the court.
One of whom is Steph Curry.
The Warriors superstar joined NBC Sports Bay Area's Monte Poole and Kerith Burke on the latest episode of "Dubs Talk," where he discussed how his fellow Splash Brother has evolved and help lead a young Warriors team.
"It's the human experience," Curry said. "It's beautiful to watch in the sense that we all have such high expectations for ourselves, but nobody could really understand what Klay went through for those two years and how far away the game felt to him at the lowest of lows and the work he put in to get back."
Thompson recently was challenged to take his game to the next level by Warriors assistant coach Bruce Fraser in a conversation the two had after the All-Star break. Since then, Thompson is grabbing more rebounds and has made it his focus to evolve into more than just a 3-and-D sharpshooter.
Curry, who recently returned to the court after missing 11 games with a lower leg injury, cannot fathom what it was like for Thompson to miss two whole seasons and is inspired by his teammate's openness and vulnerability in discussing the grueling rehab process.
"I was out for four weeks and I had so much adrenaline your first game back," Curry explained. "I can't imagine being out that long and playing and wanting to get back to who you think you are on the court as quickly as possible but being patient through the process and what that looks like.
"So for him to have been on full display, he's been very open and vulnerable about his experience the whole time, like when he came back, it was about proving everybody wrong and defending himself in the sense of what people were saying about him and his game and all that, then he finally kind of moved and was focusing on how can he get better, how can he help the team win, what kind of tweaks and changes does he need to play the game the way that is the best suited for him and his body now and how he feels on a night-by-night basis and building confidence in that. And you've seen the results of it."
The Warriors not only were missing Curry, but also have been without forward Andrew Wiggins and guard Gary Payton II, leaving Thompson as one of the remaining veteran leaders who has stepped up with his play on the court and with his voice.
"We've been shorthanded for a while now with me and Wiggs out and GP not being able to play and the way that everybody stepped up, Klay especially, has carried us through that stretch where without the way that he's playing, I don't know how many games we win," Curry added.
"And it's been great to watch the evolution of Klay throughout all these different experiences, because this is such a hard task to do, to battle through the injuries and the rehab that he did and then get thrown back into the heat of the battle chasing a championship. He's hit his stride, he's doing things he hasn't done in his career ever at the age that he is."
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Although the Warriors' season has been a frustrating rollercoaster of mediocrity, Golden State has stayed afloat in the Western Conference playoff race largely in part to Thompson's impact.
And it certainly has not gone unnoticed.