As you all may have heard, Klay Thompson of the Goldenn State Warriors, who was set to return after missing a season due to a torn ACL in his left knee during the 2019 playoffs, will now miss the entire 2020 – 2021 season with an achilles tear in his right foot. That is devastating news for the Warriors and NBA fans in general. Klay is one of the greatest shooters in NBA history and is an underrated defender. He is the epitome of a two-way player.
Klay is an elite player who is more than just a spot up shooter. He’s a guy who’s off the ball movement is as good as any player in the league, with the ability to create openings for himself when there may have been none. His ability to play off the ball was crucial to the success that the Warriors had. He allowed Steph Curry and Draymond Green to be the primary ball handlers and he was able to play off of other players and get his at an insane rate to boot. Remember when Klay Thompson scored 60 points and only took 11 dribbles in a game? When has any other player achieved such a feat.
When Klay suffered the injury in 2019 to his left ACL, it wasn’t seen as such a catastrophic injury because the treatments and medical procedures used to repair and address those injuries has improved lightyears in recent years. But an achilles injury is a different beast altogether. There aren’t many instances where guys who suffered an achilles tear came back to produce at the same level they produced prior to the injury. One of the notable exceptions was Dominique Wilkins, who came back relatively quickly and also continued to score at an elite level. But he is seen as an exception and not the rule.
With that being said, Klay may have to tweak his game a bit…at least in the short term once he returns, in order to maximize his effectiveness on the offensive end. His off the ball movement is likely to suffer a bit as well as his perimeter defense, but one thing that’s for sure is he will retain his shot regardless, so he will still have that advantage over everyone in the league with the possible exception of his back-court mate Steph Curry. So I think he will be fine as far as his overall shot goes.
I guess time will tell if he is able to regain his elite, All-NBA form. I for one hope he does. His game was absolutely beautiful. In a league where we have guys that pound the rock endlessly, running down the clock then heaving up a contested three pointer, Klay was sort of an anomaly. He was a guy who could put the team on his back while barely putting the ball on the floor. He was an absolute marksmen with a hand in his face or with the defender trailing and getting hung up on a screen. He was a much improved driver and had underrated athleticism. He was a piece that was always working and needed next to no maintenance. It would be a tragedy if he isn’t able to return to that form. A tragedy not only for his team that depends on him, but for NBA fans who appreciate all he embodies as one of the purest shooters to ever do it.