All will seem right in Warriors-landia when Klay Thompson returns to the back court with his Splash Brother Steph Curry. During a nearly 20-minute session with reporters Tuesday, Thompson said getting back on the practice court with his teammates at full speed has been a huge milestone as he rehabs from two-plus missed seasons.
“Just feels normal again,” Thompson said. “Just being out there with Steph and Dray, Andre [Iguodala], [Kevon] Loon [Looney], -- we have such a great history together.”
Crazy to think the trio of Thompson, Curry and Green has been together for a decade now. Klay also noted how players like Andrew Wiggins, Jordan Poole, Damion Lee and Juan Toscano-Anderson have played within coach Steve Kerr’s system for a couple of years, bringing a sense of continuity.
“I think it’ll be pretty seamless when I come back,” Thompson said.
When Thompson returns, don’t expect any sort of departure from his game. He is a solid athlete, but not an explosive one who relied on his hops to get buckets. Thompson laid out what to expect from him this season after he tore his ACL in 2019 and Achilles in 2020.
“I anticipate coming back with not as much bounce,” Thompson said. “I feel like I can get it back. Luckily for me, my game isn’t predicated on jumping 12 feet high. If I just get a dunk or two every other game, that’s pretty consistent with what I was doing. My game’s based off skill, so I knew I could come back and still be really good.”
Aside from the three titles, Thompson’s top memories in a Warriors uniform include his 37-point quarter against the Sacramento Kings in 2015 and his 14 3-pointers made against the Chicago Bulls in 2018. Those are big numbers -- but the veteran said he’s going to have a different mentality when it comes to his production during his comeback.
“You gotta have realistic expectations of yourself,” Thompson said. “I was a numbers guy before. I always wanted to shoot a certain percentage or average a certain amount of points. But now coming back after two tough injuries, I kinda scratched that. I just have an open canvas of what’s going to happen.
“I just want to be efficient. I don’t care what my numbers are as long as I am shooting and playing efficiently. I know as time [passes] -- whether it’s toward the end of this year, come playoff time or next year -- I know my numbers will be great again. Just two years out of the NBA, you gotta taper down the expectations of scoring 37 in a quarter or 14 threes in a game. I plan on doing that again, but who knows when. It’s tough to say.”
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After watching the Warriors add other role-playing shooters like Nemanja Bjelica and Otto Porter Jr. this offseason, Thompson said he thinks he’ll fit in great with the wide-open spacing the Warriors have provided.
“It makes the transition coming back to the lineup so easy,” Thompson said. “We all know I’m not an [isolation] player or a guy who’s just going to out and handle the ball all night. I use my teammate to get open, I cut off Draymond, Loon, I screen for Steph. To see these other guys doing what I was doing in the past -- is great. Just from an observing standpoint, it’s so fun to watch on the bench. It’s really beautiful basketball.”
Since Thompson’s return is still about a month away, Kerr said he hasn’t thought much about how rotations will change. For now, Poole is the starting shooting guard, but that figures to change once Klay returns.
“It feels like wasted energy, given that by the team he comes back our team could look different, given injuries and everything else,” Kerr said. “We’ll figure that out when the time comes.”