Kerr explains why Klay isn't playing in Japan preseason games


There was a notable omission from the Warriors’ starting five on Friday, but there’s no need to panic.

Before Golden State defeated the Washington Wizards 96-87 in their first preseason game from Japan, coach Steve Kerr told reporters Jordan Poole would be starting in place of Klay Thompson.

And while Thompson has been having a great time in Japan, he won’t see any time on the court in the next game, either.

“Klay won’t play in either game here in Japan. Just feel more comfortable giving him a little more of a ramp up,” Kerr said. “He’s just not quite ready to play at this point, just based on where -- we’re so early in camp. We just want to be safe and make sure he gets a good ramp-up before he plays in games.”

Thompson made a triumphant return to the court last season on Jan. 9 after suffering back-to-back injuries, coming back full force just in time to help the Warriors secure their fourth NBA championship in eight seasons.

Prior to his comeback, Thompson hadn’t played since Game 6 of the 2019 NBA Finals. He tore his ACL after scoring 30 points in a loss to the Toronto Raptors, then tore his Achilles tendon before the start of the 2020-21 NBA season.

Thompson finished out the 2021-22 regular season appearing in 32 games, averaging 20.4 points, 3.9 rebounds and 2.8 assists. Across the 2022 NBA playoffs, Thompson averaged 19.0 points, 3.9 rebounds and 2.3 assists in 22 games.


But Thompson sitting out during the Warriors’ Japan preseason games is an extra precaution, Kerr explained, and doesn’t have to do with any current issues the Splash Bro is facing.

“Just common sense,” Kerr said. “Coming off the two years with the injuries, and this is really unique to play a game after three and a half practices.

“So we’re just being cautious and trying to do the smart thing.”

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Thompson is expected by many, including Kerr, to see a boost in production this season after an offseason spent healthy and without any need for rehabilitation.

And if missing a couple of preseason games is the best thing for him moving forward, Dub Nation certainly can handle a little more waiting in anticipation of the first season opener in years with a healthy Thompson.

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