The long process of rehabbing two serious injuries will finally end Sunday for Klay Thompson, and the Warriors guard is determined to prove that he’s as good as ever, writes Nick Friedell of ESPN. Thompson bought a boat and focused on helping his younger teammates during his extended break, but nothing took his mind off his desire to start playing again. He’s “hungrier” than ever to help Golden State make an impact in the playoffs after missing the last two postseasons.
“I know myself. I know how good I am,” Thompson said. “I know the things I’ve done. … It’s like — how many times do I have to do something that no one else has ever done before and get respect? Do I have to go score 50 in a quarter now? Like, what the hell? It’s whatever though, man. It’s over with. I’m going to use it as fuel.”
Thompson’s return to the court will be a monumental event for the franchise, coach Steve Kerr said at a press conference today, per Mark Medina of NBA.com. Kerr compared it to Michael Jordan‘s return to basketball in 1995 and expects it to be “one of the most emotional games that any of us would ever be a part of.”
“I have no doubt when Klay walks onto the floor for the first time, I will never forget that game,” Kerr said. “It will stand out as one of the highlights of my entire basketball existence just because of who Klay is and how much he has meant to our franchise and to the Bay area and to me personally and to his teammates. He’s everybody’s favorite guy and we’ve all seen him suffer for two-and-a-half years. It’ll be very emotional.”
There’s more on the Warriors:
- Golden State got a look at its future in Thursday’s game at New Orleans as injuries resulted in extended playing time for rookies Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody, notes Connor Letourneau of The San Francisco Chronicle. “I think they’re right on schedule,” Kerr said. “I think they’re both really working hard every single day, putting the work in, learning what it’s about to be an NBA player. … It’s not easy, especially for 19-year-old kids. They’re learning, and they’re doing a great job.”
- James Wiseman, who hasn’t played since having knee surgery last season, continues to make progress, tweets Anthony Slater of The Athletic. Kerr is hoping that during the next road trip, Wiseman can participate in 3-on-3 games or 1-on-1 drills against another center.
- Kerr sidestepped a question today about possibly bringing back DeMarcus Cousins, who was waived Thursday by the Bucks, according to Monte Poole of NBC Sports Bay Area (Twitter link). Cousins played for Golden State in 2018/19.