By Alexa Schorr
Klay Thompson dropped 17 points in his first game back on January 9th against the Cleveland Cavaliers after a 31-month layoff from the NBA. Thompson missed over two years due to two different injuries with one being a torn Achilles tendon and the other a torn ACL. Despite the long, hard road, he scored 17 points in 20 minutes and brutally dunked on Cleveland Cavaliers’ power forward Lauri Markkenan and small forward Dylan Windler.
Thompson went 3 for 8 from the field, that being almost 40 percent. He made four other shots that night. Although Thompson could have had a stronger game, he did reach two new milestones with 12,000 career points and 1,800 three-pointers.
Thompson and the Golden State crowd came out of halftime fired up. He opened up the half by making two mid-range jump shots and a 3-pointer. The crowd erupted any time Thompson made a shot. Before exiting the game, Thompson knocked down another 3-pointer at 2:41, and the crowd exploded with cheers and excitement. Thompson left the game with a loud standing ovation from his fellow fans and teammates.
Although many people thought Thompson played outstanding for his first game back in 941 days, others have doubts about this Golden State Warriors team. ESPN Stats & Info stated “It has been a struggle for Thompson and the Warriors. Thompson has been held to under 40 percent FG in each of his 1st 4 games since returning from injury. The Warriors, who have been without Stephen Curry and Draymond Green, have lost 5 of 7, including at the Timberwolves Sunday.”
Although critics think this season is going to be harsh for the Warriors, many fans have optimism and are saying Thompson just needs to find his rhythm. Once Thompson gets it together, which rivals are hoping doesn’t happen, the league better watch out.
The Golden State Warriors are one of the top teams in the NBA right now, and with Thompson’s return, they will continue to hold that position. Although the Warriors were doing extremely well without Thompson, they can still improve to create an unstoppable team.
Thompson was one of the best perimeter defenders in Golden State history as well as the league before his injuries occurred. While he was gone, the Warriors really focused on their defense, because after all their best defender was gone. Andrew Wiggins and Curry were one of the top two defenders while Thompson was absent, but with Thompson back the Warriors’ defense will be tenacious.
Although Curry is the greatest shooter of all time in NBA history, Thompson is also ranked high on the list. He holds the all-time record for most 3-pointers in a single game. In one game in 2018, he hit 14 three-pointers! This shows how well he has the potential to shoot and soon will get his rhythm back.
Thompson’s return is going to tremendously help the Golden State Warriors, and once he gets his flow back all other teams in the league should be afraid. The road to the 2022 NBA finals only gets easier from here for the Warriors.