Klay Thompson still has a ways to go before being able to play this season without limitations. Thompson didn’t participate in scrimmages until a week before the Golden State Warriors’ regular season opening and didn’t take the court for the first time until their preseason finale due to lingering effects from his two serious lower-body injuries. Due to this, Thompson is being gradually pushed closer to his usual playing time by Steve Kerr and the team’s medical staff. As a result, Thompson is unlikely to play for longer than 20 minutes in his team’s game against the Denver Nuggets on Friday night.
Though, given how effectively he performed under the same parameters in the Warriors’ rout of the Los Angeles Lakers on championship night, don’t be surprised if Thompson nevertheless makes little advancements toward his personal goal against the Nuggets.
The All-Star Game will be Thompson’s personal goal in 2022–23, he said on All The Smoke with former Warriors Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson. This will be the sixth time in his career that he has attended the All-Star Game.
“I wanna be an All-Star again. I’m used to what I know, and to be able to make those games and be considered one of the best in the world, it’s the coolest. No better feeling. I just wanna be able to experience that again,” he said. “All-NBA is always great, but I don’t wanna put that pressure on myself. If I play like I’m know I’m capable of, I should be an NBA All-Star. And to go through what I did and be able to accomplish that, that’s a big goal of mine. That’s a big goal of mine.”
In the first game of the season, Thompson played 19 minutes and 39 seconds while scoring 18 points, two rebounds, three assists, and a steal on 6-of-13 shooting from the field and 2-of-6 from beyond the arc. He was expected to be better than he was last year going into this season, mostly because it’s generally believed that players coming back from significant injuries require a full season to adjust to the pace and physicality of the NBA before achieving their top performance.
If Thompson ever reaches those pre-injury heights, it remains to be seen. After all, Thompson is 32 and is obviously at least one-half step slower than he was before rupturing his Achilles tendon and tearing his ACL, a development that could have happened even if Thompson had continued to be in excellent health.
On All The Smoke, Thompson said that his body is still catching up to his head even though legendary shooters like him never lose their edge. In the second half of the NBA Finals, Thompson did well defensively against Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. All indications are that in 2022–23, when Kerr and company have let go of the reins, he will be more significant and reliable on both ends.
If that is evidence that? Not only will Klay Thompson prove indispensable in the Warriors’ quest for back-to-back titles, but he will also reclaim his rightful place during All-Star weekend.
A lot of smoke
Klay Thompson discusses his 2022–2023 “huge aim” in the article “I’m used to what I know” that first appeared on ClutchPoints.