Warriors wing Klay Thompson sourced input from a variety of his NBA colleagues across the league, past and present, while rehabilitating from back-to-back season-ending injuries, writes Mark Medina of NBA.com. Thompson tore his ACL during the 2019 NBA Finals, and subsequently tore his Achilles while ramping up for the 2020/21 season.
“So many people count you out when you go through an injury like this,” Hall-of-Famer Dominique Wilkins, who consulted with Thompson, told Medina. “You know your heart. You just got to stay focused, diligent and tough. You can get back from this.”
Wilkins suffered an Achilles tear while playing for the Hawks, but ultimately returned to his All-Star form afterwords.
Thompson also maintained a dialogue over text with former Warriors teammate Kevin Durant, now with the Nets. Durant tore his Achilles while with Golden State during the 2019 postseason.
“It’s inspiring to watch him and see him look the exact same way prior to the injury,” Thompson said in praising his teammate. “It’s a testament not only to his willpower but his skill level. He might lose a little quickness or a little bounce. But you’ll never lose the ability to put the ball in the hole.”
The 31-year-old five-time All-Star also spoke with Grant Hill and Rudy Gay about their own recoveries from major injuries. Thompson is averaging 17.1 PPG with a reduced minutes load this season as he continues to work his way back, hoping to reclaim his All-Star form come playoff time.
There’s more out of the Pacific Division:
- Given that the perpetually rebuilding Kings cannot necessarily rely on big-ticket free agency additions as a small market franchise, Chris Binderman of the Sacramento Bee wonders if Sacramento could benefit from taking a page out of the Nuggets‘ playbook when it comes to adding and developing talent.
- The 27-32 Lakers find themselves facing an uncertain future after going all-in on Russell Westbrook in a trade this summer. Although LeBron James appeared to voice his relative apathy about a long-term future in Los Angeles during the 2022 All-Star Weekend festivities, he has since expressed his commitment to the team. When Bill Oram of The Athletic openly hypothesized that James might not want to remain with the Lakers beyond the end of his current deal, James retorted in comments to the press. “Anytime Bill says anything about the Lakers it’s going to be negative,” James said. “So, I hope no one in the Lakers faithful listens to Bill Oram. I hope not. He hasn’t said one great thing about the Lakers in so long.” In a new piece for The Athletic, Oram opines that James himself was responsible for the latest rumblings.
- Lakers owner Jeanie Buss, GM Rob Pelinka, and James’ longtime agent Rich Paul met this week to discuss everyone’s feelings surrounding their team-building strategy. Sam Amick of The Athletic provides more details on the group’s conversation.