For the first time since they landed Kevin Durant in free agency in 2016, the Warriors won’t enter a season as the overwhelming favorites to win the title. Still, despite the fact that Durant is no longer on the roster and Klay Thompson isn’t expected to be back on the court until sometime after the All-Star break, Thompson is enthusiastic about Golden State’s future, as he tells Marcus Thompson II of The Athletic.
Singling out newly-added free agents D’Angelo Russell and Willie Cauley-Stein and expressing excitement about Kevon Looney‘s development, the veteran sharpshooter suggested he’s not worried about fans or experts writing off the Dubs.
“That’s fine. That’s sports,” Thompson said. “I don’t just think we’re going to be nice this year. I think we’ve got a five-year window. We’re still so young, man. People get lost thinking, ‘Oh, they’re 30 now.’ I feel younger than ever.”
In addition to publishing a full-length feature on Klay, Marcus Thompson also relayed a few leftover quotes that didn’t make it into his full story, so there are plenty of noteworthy comments to pass along from the five-All-Star. Here are a few of them:
On tearing his ACL during Game 6 of the NBA Finals:
“I think about that every day. That’s just the humbling part of sports — when you feel like you’re at your best, something traumatic can happen. But I honestly felt like I was at the peak of my NBA career up to that point. I was at my best. The way I was shooting the ball, the way I was playing defense. I felt like I was one of the best players out there. In past series, or Finals, you know, I’ve been able to defer. But in that series, I felt like I was just, like, as close to unstoppable as I’ve ever been.”
On whether the Warriors would have won the Finals if not for his ACL injury:
“In my mind, yes, we would’ve won if I didn’t get hurt. But that’s just the nature of sports, you know? What-ifs. It doesn’t matter. It’s if you do your deed or not. In my mind, I think we would’ve. But you never know. That’s the hard part you’ve got to accept. I look at all the guys who had bad luck getting injured against us the last few years, and I’ve honestly become so much more sympathetic. Yeah. That’s just the nature of the beast.”
On Durant leaving the Warriors for the Nets:
“It was no hard feelings, man. I know Kevin. It sucks because we go from the most dominant team ever to — a really good team, but that’s still a big drop-off, you know. I just enjoyed playing with him, man. It’s fun to play with him every day. He’s such a hard worker and he’s fun to watch. He really is just a great basketball player. I’ll miss that.”