The rich are about to get richer. The Golden State Warriors, who already own the second-best record in the league and possess one of the leading MVP candidates in Stephen Curry and leading Defensive Player of the Year candidates in Draymond Green, are about to add one of the greatest shooters in history to their team.
That shooter, of course, would be Klay Thompson, who is expected to make his long anticipated return to NBA action on Sunday vs. the Cavaliers, per reporting from The Athletic’s Shams Charania and Anthony Slater. Final clearance and an official announcement are expected on Saturday.
After tearing his ACL in Game 6 of the 2019 Finals, then tearing his Achilles tendon just prior to the start of of the 2020-21 season, Thompson has not played in an NBA basketball game in over two-and-a-half calendar years. And for all their successes so far, the Warriors need him.
Quietly, the Warriors have the 26th-ranked offense since Dec. 1, per Cleaning the Glass, and Stephen Curry is having the worst shooting season of his career at 38.8 percent from 3 and 42 percent from the field.
There’s no telling how long it will take for Thompson to get his game legs back, let alone his complete basketball rhythm, and who knows if physically he’ll ever be quite the same, but we know he can shoot in his sleep. And as long as he can do that, defenses are not going to be able to sell out on Curry with relative impunity, not with Green at the helm of 4-on-3 advantages and Thompson one pass away waiting to fire.
Steve Kerr has already said Thompson will be in the starting lineup immediately upon his return, which moves Jordan Poole to the sixth man role. Poole is a tailor-made scorer off the bench.
This is going to be quite a moment when Thompson returns in front of his home fans. He is beloved in the Bay Area and around the league as a whole. You’d be hard pressed to find a more popular player among his NBA peers. Everyone, even the teams competing against Golden State for a title, is going to be happy to see Thompson back on the court.