It's been a rough season for the Golden State Warriors, who have been biding their time until their star players return to full health. Klay Thompson has been sidelined for the entirety of the 2019-20 campaign due to a torn ACL he suffered in last year's NBA Finals, and Stephen Curry went down early in the season to a broken hand. Not having the Splash Brothers available dashed any hopes of the Warriors having a productive season that could potentially result in a playoff appearance. Their absence has been too much for the team to overcome, which has resulted in an NBA-worst 15-50 record and a top-2 pick in the draft almost all but locked up.
Curry returned for one game before the league went on an extended hiatus, and in a 23-point outing he looked every bit like his former self. There was obvious rust in his shooting, but it was a positive sign to see the two-time MVP back on the floor. However, for the Warriors to return to championship contenders they'll need both Curry and Thompson back at full health before the start of next season.
While there's still a lot of questions surrounding when exactly next season will start, given the fact that the NBA has no idea when the current season will resume due to COVID-19, Warriors coach Steve Kerr is positive that Thompson will be ready to go whenever the 2020-21 season does begin.
"He's going to be so ready to play next year and so excited and the rehab is coming along really well," Kerr said via The Athletic. "So I have no doubt that assuming everything starts in September and October like it usually does that Klay and Steph will be in great shape and ready to roll."
Although Kerr noted that Thompson's rehab has been going well, he also mentioned that this season has been incredibly difficult for the sharpshooting shooting guard. Being ruled out for the entire season wasn't ideal for Thompson, and it took a toll on him as the season progressed.
"It's been a really, really hard season for Klay," Kerr said. "He loves to play basketball so much and just not being able to play has crushed him. And so he was, unlike Steph, over the last couple, few months, he hasn't been around as often as Steph was. I was OK with that just because it was so frustrating for Klay just to be at practice watching and not really being able to do anything."
Not being able to help your team is a crushing feeling for any athlete, and as the losses mounted for the Warriors over the course of the season, that feeling likely worsened for Thompson. Considering just a year ago this team had a chance to win its third-straight championship, becoming the league's worst team the following year leaves a bad taste.
Luckily for Golden State, though, this season will just be a blip to the otherwise dynastic run over the past five years. With Curry and Thompson set to return next season, as well as Draymond Green and newly-acquired Andrew Wiggins, the Warriors will be right back in the fold as one of the top teams in the Western Conference.