Klay guarantees bounce-back season in his Warriors return originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
It has been over two years since we last saw Klay Thompson suit up for the Warriors. The star shooting guard was at the peak of his powers during the 2019 NBA Finals before tearing his ACL in Game 6.
Now, after recovering from the torn ACL, subsequently tearing his Achilles and spending a year rehabbing one of the harshest injuries in sports, Thompson is ready to return this season for the Warriors. While many would feel cheated of having two years of their athletic prime taken from them, Thompson is different, always looking forward and believing there are big things in store when he re-takes the court for the Warriors.
"Yeah, I'm balling out this season," Thompson said Thursday on his Instagram Live. "By the grace of God, I will be balling. Injuries are no fun, but it's part of sports. What can you do? ... All you can do is keep moving forward for real. ... I'm going to bounce back, that's a fact. I guarantee that."
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The Warriors know that Thompson's return, when it happens and how he looks will be a big factor in their return to the NBA title hunt. In adding high-ceiling rookies Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody, along with veterans Andre Iguodala, Otto Porter Jr., and Nemanja Bjelica, the Warriors have a more well-rounded roster than the one that was bounced from the play-in tournament last season.
But whether or not they can truly contend for an NBA championship will fall on Thompson's highly-anticipated return.
"I think that's mostly on Klay, what he can be," Warriors president Bob Myers said after the NBA draft. "Not 'on him,' but with a healthy Klay Thompson we are right there with everybody. But I don't know if, when, how -- I expect him to come back healthy. I don't want to put any pressure on the date because it's not going to be at the start of the season, it's not going to be the first game. But really we need one of our top two or three players to be one of our top two to three players.
"I think that will determine if you put a healthy Warriors team against our competition, looking at the league right now ... with our core of three guys and [Andrew] Wiggins and having [Kevon] Looney and [James] Wiseman and [Jordan] Poole and Juan [Toscano-Anderson] and Eric [Paschall] and Damion [Lee] and everybody that is in our rotation, and maybe one of these young guys gives us more than we thought, then yeah."
After two years spent on the sidelines, Thompson is champing at the bit to return, and make a statement when he does.