Warriors

The importance of Klay's healthy offseason for him, Warriors

Warriors

SAN FRANCISCO -- Klay Thompson on Sunday at Chase Center found himself in a position that has been foreign since 2018: Healthy and defending a championship at Warriors Media Day. 

Instead of being held back by an injury, first a torn ACL and then a torn Achilles, Thompson soaked in an offseason back on the NBA's mountain top. With vacations in Nassau and Europe, boat parties dancing on the Italian Riviera and being able to get in the gym worry free, he was just fine with being reminded of a feeling he's had the luxury of enjoying three previous times. 

"Man, just the daily routine of working out and having time to go to the beach and not having the pressure of performing," Thompson said. "I forgot what a championship offseason was like.

"It was very short, so I counted my blessings every day and I enjoyed every day off, to be honest."

What Thompson shared on social media looked like a blast. Who can blame him, too. 

The last two offseasons have been a grind for the 32-year-old shooting guard. He played in every game possible his first two seasons as a pro, and averaged nearly 78 games played per regular season the six years prior to him missing all of the 2019-20 season and all of the 2020-21 season. On average, he missed only four games per season over that span. 

His offseason routine still consisted of some carryovers from his rehab, things like calf raises and squats. There has to be some regiment here and there, but Thompson's life was back to being free, just as he plays on the court. Free to find his spot, free to let it fly. 

 

And this time, he won't have to wait 941 days. When the Warriors celebrate their first ring night at Chase Center, Thompson will be gearing up for the opening tip of Game 1. That's huge for him and the Warriors. 

This time, Thompson won't be inserted into the starting lineup on the 38th game of the season. That'll be the case in the season-opener. He can shake off rust in October in November, as opposed to January and February. 

"It's just awesome, man," Thompson said. "You don't have to go through, you know, slumps or whatever you're going through during the middle of a season. You can kind of go through that earlier if you have to.

"So I'm just excited to play some October basketball again."

Historically, Thompson's game gets better as the season goes on. That's especially true with the first few months of his 3-point shot. He's a 35.5 percent 3-point shooter in October. That number jumps to 40.9 percent in November, 41.1 in December and 43.1 percent in January. 

Thompson's offensive rating also increases in each of the first four months of the season, starting at 106 in October and reaching its peak of monthly averages in February with a 110 offensive rating. 

On a championship team that does have its core intact, there remains a handful of question marks. Steve Kerr has said the Warriors' rotation is "wide open" after the top six of Thompson, Steph Curry, Andrew Wiggins, Draymond Green, Kevon Looney and Jordan Poole. Establishing roles from the start will only help the rest, and Thompson being healthy from the get-go also helps in that regard.

Poole no longer has to establish himself as a starter and then figure out how to excel in a bench role mid-way through the season. He proved he can be even more of a weapon as a Sixth Man, and now can form chemistry with an athletic second unit from the jump. 

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While Thompson enjoyed every second of his downtime over the summer, he also has to get his body ready in different ways at this point of his career. He prioritized dieting, strength training, stretching and mobility. Getting shots up in the gym every day or every other day was the cherry on top. The only thing he avoided was full 5-on-5 pickup games. 

A dash of superstition was involved there. The last time that was part of his offseason routine, he tore his Achilles and had to start a whole new rehab after completing rehab for his torn ACL. 

Thompson knows he'll be 100 percent ready for the season opener on Oct. 18. Winning a fourth championship only made him want more, and he still feels like he's making up for lost time. 

 

"I'm hungry as ever still because I still remember those two years I had to watch," Thompson said. "I'm eager to play a full season and show people what I'm capable of again."

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