Klay Thompson was supposed to make his return this season from a torn ACL suffered in the 2019 NBA Finals, but the day before the 2020 NBA Draft in November, Thompson suffered a torn Achilles in a pickup game in Los Angeles that ended his 2020-21 campaign before it could even begin.
The long rehab process for Thompson is ongoing, but he’s been able to be with the team this season for it and that has kept his spirits high. On Sunday, the All-NBA shooting guard met with the media for the first time to discuss his progress and much more. Among the questions asked of Thompson was what his expectations were for when he returns to the court next season, and while he said he will begin with a minutes restriction and not come out “balls to the wall,” he made it clear that his long-term expectation is to be an All-NBA player again.
Klay Thompson with a candid quote on next season: "I'll be honest, I don't expect to come back balls to the wall, 38 minutes a night, guarding the best player, running around 100 screens. I'm going to get to that point. I guarantee that."
Full soundbite pic.twitter.com/306FjufH4w
— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) March 14, 2021
Thompson’s confidence and energy have always been defining characteristics of his game, and it serves him very well in the situation he finds himself in, battling back from two devastating injuries back-to-back. He “guarantees” that he’ll be back to the level he once had, and said he gains confidence he can be that player coming off of an Achilles thanks to what he’s seen from guys like Kevin Durant, John Wall, and, further back, Dominique Wilkins.
Klay is confident he'll be able to return from his Achilles injury like KD, John Wall and Dominique Wilkins pic.twitter.com/6LIJlliZCH
— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) March 14, 2021
As Thompson notes, there will be some loss in explosiveness, but as we’ve seen, particularly from Durant, a player whose game isn’t built on being an explosive athlete can certainly make that return to an elite, All-NBA level again. He seems well aware of the need for patience with this injury, but also won’t cede an inch in terms of internal expectations for how he’ll look once he’s cleared of restrictions.