The end of the Warriors' season was abrupt. But every team but one's ends the same way.
It was disappointing for the Warriors to not make the NBA playoffs despite getting an MVP-caliber season from Steph Curry and a Defensive Player of the Year season from Draymond Green.
However, the Warriors' year ending did allow Klay Thompson some mental relief, knowing that his time on the bench has ended.
"I think it was, in a strange way, the end of the season for Klay has meant the end of his time apart from the team," coach Steve Kerr told reporters Monday. "Even though he was with the team, he never felt a part of it since he wasn't playing. We had our exit meeting the next day and I was like, 'Klay you're back. The next time we get together, you're a part of this. You're on the floor.'
"Now, will he be playing in a game yet? We don't know. But he'll be running around and shooting and practicing with us and doing all that we know. But we'll just have to see where his progress is at that point to determine when he's able to play.
"But emotionally, spiritually, I think it's a huge lift for him to know we are now all on the same timeline in terms of getting back together and when we can play basketball again together. I think it's a real uplifting feeling for him. He's making real strides."
Thompson missed his second consecutive season after tearing his Achilles in November. The Warriors know he will return next season, but it is unlikely that he will be ready to go in Game 1.
"I don't know that it will be the start of the year, we'll see more as camp gets closer. When I say start of the year I mean Game 1, I don't know if that's realistic or not," president of basketball operations Bob Myers said during his end-of-season media availability. "What we're focused on is when do we expect Klay to be Klay, and I don't know if that will be January, February, March, it's too early to say.
"We're not going to throw him out there if he's not ready, and he's doing everything he can to get back. I want to talk about Klay a lot, but I'm reluctant because I don't want to use that as an excuse. I don't want people to think 'well when Klay comes back everything is going to be great.' As great as he is and it will help a lot, we have to look at our team and say, Klay will be a huge addition but there's other areas where we need to improve on as well, but I don't know when exactly it will be."
The Warriors undoubtedly missed Thompson this season, especially on the offensive end as defenses swarmed Curry without his Splash Brother on the court.
The last time we saw Thompson on the floor was in Game 6 of the 2019 NBA Finals when he was at the peak of his powers. Given the strong recovery of Kevin Durant and John Wall from Achilles injuries, there is no reason to believe Thompson won't come back at or near 100 percent of the player he was two years ago.
And seeing Thompson back on the court with Curry and Draymond Green will be a welcome sight for all in the basketball world.