Warriors' Klay Thompson 'crushed' to not play this season, Steve Kerr says

Warriors' Klay Thompson 'crushed' to not play this season, Steve Kerr says

It was a hard season for the Warriors. 

The five-time defending Western Conference champions were ravaged by injuries and roster turnover, causing them to sink to the bottom of the NBA. Steph Curry broke his hand in the fourth game of the season and played one game before the league went on its coronavirus hiatus.

Star backcourtmate Klay Thompson spent the entire season recovering from the torn ACL he suffered in Game 6 of the 2019 NBA Finals. Missing the entire season was really difficult for Thompson, but coach Steve Kerr knows his talented guards will be all systems go whenever next season starts. 

“It’s been a really, really hard season for Klay,” Kerr told Tim Kawakami of The Athletic. “He loves to play basketball so much and just not being able to play has crushed him. And so he was, unlike Steph, over the last couple, few months, he hasn’t been around as often as Steph was. I was OK with that just because it was so frustrating for Klay just to be at practice watching and not really being able to do anything.

“Finally over the last few weeks he was able to start shooting with our guys, running through some drills and he was so happy to be out there. But for much of the season, it was just about getting away and not torturing himself by watching us play. He’s going to be so ready to play next year and so excited and the rehab is coming along really well, so I have no doubt that -- assuming everything starts in September and October like it usually does -- that Klay and Steph will be in great shape and ready to roll.”

The Warriors entered the hiatus with the NBA's worst record, giving them a good shot at landing the No. 1 pick in the 2020 NBA Draft. That pick -- whether the Warriors keep it or trade it for veteran help -- along with the returns of Thompson and Curry, the arrival of Andrew Wiggins and the emergence of Eric Paschall will give Kerr and the Warriors hope to return to title contention next season. 

[RELATED: Curry-Ionescu relationship good for basketball]

While Thompson undoubtedly has been gutted by not playing, he's handled the rehab year in typical Klay fashion. He rode the ferry into the city, sported a kimono, gave a speech welcoming Andre Iguodala back to the Bay, played sideline reporter for NBC Sports Bay Area and had his bulldog Rocco present at an autograph session. 

He even got in a shooting session in his full Warriors uniform, thanks to Zaza Pachulia. 

It has been a tough year for Thompson, but it's safe to say he'll be ready to go next season. 

Why Mychal Thompson was nervous for Klay's first game vs. Kobe Bryant

Why Mychal Thompson was nervous for Klay's first game vs. Kobe Bryant

Klay Thompson is just about the most cool, calm, collected player in the NBA. He never gets rattled and he's never nervous.

But Klay's dad Mychal is a different story.

The elder Thompson posted a photo on Twitter on Monday from Klay's very first game against Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant, and he revealed that he was nervous to watch his son face his idol.

Mychal said he was nervous because of the way Kobe treated rookies he faced. In that game, on Jan. 6, 2012, Bryant 39 points, seven assists and four rebounds in the Lakers' 97-90 win over the Warriors.

[RUNNIN' PLAYS PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

Klay, in just his seventh career game, scored 14 points off the bench.

Born in Los Angeles, Klay grew up worshipping the late Bryant. Just this week, the Warriors star stopped by Staples Center to pay his respects to Bryant and his daughter Gigi, who died in a helicopter crash on Jan. 26.

[RELATED: Steph had "major FOMO" when NBA bubble games began]

Based on the photo of Klay guarding Kobe eight years ago, it doesn't look like the 2011 No. 11 overall draft pick was nervous at all.

Steph Curry says NBA players upsetting President Trump doing 'right thing'

Steph Curry says NBA players upsetting President Trump doing 'right thing'

Steph Curry isn't able to peacefully protest in Orlando, Fla., but he's proud of what his NBA peers are doing with their platform.

Throughout the NBA restart at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex, entire teams have taken a knee during the playing of the national anthem to protest racial and social injustices. Players are wearing social justice messages on their uniforms. They are using their Zoom conference calls with reporters to call for equality and for the Louisville police officers who shot Breonna Taylor to be arrested.

In particular, United States President Donald Trump has taken exception to NBA players kneeling during the national anthem, stating that he's turning off games because of the action.

But Curry believes if NBA players are angering President Trump, their message is the right one.

“My barometer is always, if the current president is upset about something that somebody’s speaking out on, then you’re probably saying the right thing," Curry told The New York Times' Marc Stein on Monday. "Whether they’ve knelt, or sacrificed an interview to talk about Breonna Taylor, or whatever’s important, they’re talking about it and they’re backing it up with action.”

Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James spoke to reporters last week about President Trump turning off NBA games because players are kneeling.

"I really don't think the basketball community are sad about losing his viewership, him viewing the game," James said last Wednesday. "And that's all I got to say."

[RELATED: Seth Curry believes missing NBA restart tough for Steph]

Curry, LeBron and the rest of the NBA community understand what they are trying to accomplish with their actions and words. They are making a push for justice and equality in society. They are not concerned with President Trump's opposition.

And as Curry indicated, if the current president opposed what they are doing, they should keep doing what they are doing.