Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr insists guard Klay Thompson is starting to look more like his old basketball self. Thompson suffered a major injury during the 2018/2019 season playoffs and missed the entire 2019/2020 season.
Thompson was expected to be ready for the start of the 2020/2021 season but then he suffered a torn right Achilles injury and was forced to sit out another full season. It was a major blow for the Warriors but still they made the play-in tournament, before losing to the Los Angeles Lakers.
"Klay looked great," Warriors coach Kerr said after his team's first practice, per ESPN. "Shooting the lights out. His team won the daily shooting competition. And he was smiling, laughing, joking around, it was really fun to see the old Klay back."
Thompson practiced without limitations
"Everyone's excited that Klay is out on the floor," Kerr said.
"He basically did every single thing in practice today. We didn't scrimmage, we didn't have any live contact, but Klay is just so happy to be playing and we're all so happy to see him part of it. So just a really good first day, first couple of days, and good energy as we start to get rolling." Thompson has always been a positive guy and coach Kerr admits his return positively influences the entire team.
"Part of it is his spirit, his energy, his joy," Kerr said. "A big part of it too is, 'Yeah, we got Klay.' The confidence level as a group -- we're getting Klay back. It makes us all feel better. And that's the sense that I have from our guys." Coach Kerr acknowledged that being forced to sit out two seasons in a row was extremely tough for Thompson.
"I think his time away brought him a lot of suffering," Kerr said. "Because the thing he likes best was taken away from him. It's the first time that's ever happened. And so, while he was away he had to go through some struggles that probably illuminated some of the struggles that other people have every day.
So it's a pretty natural time to be sort of growing at that age, and emotionally expanding. And none of that surprises me given what we've known about Klay over the years. "He's a deeply compassionate, aware person. He just doesn't always show it to the world."