By: Jacob Shindel, Columnist
Views expressed in opinion columns are the author’s own.
For the second straight season, Golden State Warriors star Klay Thompson’s season is over before it begins. Thompson, a five-time All-Star, makes up half of one of the best shooting backcourts in NBA history, alongside Stephen Curry. Thompson’s first injury occurred at the of the 2018-2019 season when he tore his ACL in the NBA Finals. The Warriors lost that series to the Toronto Raptors, as superstar Kevin Durant also suffered a season ending injury.
The Warriors seemed to take the year off last year, as their entire roster battled injuries. Steph Curry broke his hand early on and missed almost the entire season. He returned for one game, against the Toronto Raptors on March 5, before missing two games due to an illness. After those two games, the NBA suspended the season due to COVID-19 and the Warriors season was over. They finished with the worst record in the league, in part because of Curry’s missed time, but also because of Thompson’s absence for the entire 2019-2020 season.
With the second overall pick in this year’s draft, the Warriors opted to select center James Wiseman over a guard that could have helped soften the blow for Thompson. The timing of the injury could not have come at a worse time.
The severity of Thompson’s injury was not known at the time when Wojnarowski broke the news, which made it hard for the Warriors to decide what to do. Wojnarowski broke the news of the specifics of Thompson’s injury on Nov. 19, indicating a torn achilles. The injury serves as a crushing event for both Thompson and the Warriors.
For Thompson, this is the second straight season he will miss. First it was an ACL injury and now the achilles injury. While he is expected to make a full recovery, he won’t see the court for a while. This is the same injury that sidelined Kevin Durant for an entire season. Thompson, who has made two All NBA Teams in his career, has played a crucial role in the Warriors historic playoff runs over the past half decade.
He is 30 years old and may not be the same player he was before the two injuries. In his 2018-2019 campaign, Thompson put up 21.5 points per game and shot 40.2% from three point range, which is the second lowest of his career. With this season being shorter due to the pandemic, Thompson will have less time to recover and rehab before the next season begins. This could bring down his numbers even more. However, with one of the best shooters in NBA history playing by his side, the Warriors should still be able to manage.
Despite losing Thompson for the year, the Warriors should still be a very competitive team. With the recent trade for Kelly Oubre, the Warriors added some young talent to the roster that is primarily made up of older, proven talent. In a vastly improved Western Conference, the Warriors, especially now without Klay Thompson, do not enter the season as title favorites. They will still be a good team, but not the same without Thompson. Here’s to hoping for a quick and full recovery.