Kyrie Irving and Klay Thompson can make their return to the competition this week. The Brooklyn Nets and Golden State Warriors have received major updates on these players' situations, and we could finish this week watching them again on an NBA court.
They've missed time due to different reasons, and their comeback is closer than ever, which has led fans and media members to debate which player will have the bigger impact on their respective teams.
Kendrick Perkins and JJ Redick debated this situation on ESPN's First Take, with the 2008 NBA champions picking Klay over Kyrie, recalling all the times he's taken over for the Warriors in the playoffs. Perk gave props to Andrew Wiggins and Jordan Poole but clarified that Thompson is on another level (1:13).
“No disrespect to Kyrie Irving, but the Brooklyn Nets, when you look at Kevin Durant and James Harden, they actually can make it to the Finals without Kyrie Irving. The Golden State Warriors aren't making it out of the Western Conference without a healthy Klay Thompson. So when I look at these two, I'm taking Klay Thompson. For the simple fact that I feel like we all forgot who the hell Klay Thompson really is! This guy is a top-75 greatest player of all time! And let me take you down memory lane. No disrespect to Jordan Poole, no disrespect to Andrew Wiggins. Those guys are playing phenomenal basketball right now, in the regular season. But when it matters the most, Klay Thompson has shown us time and time again that he's capable of being the best player on the floor, like in 2016 in the Western Conference finals against Oklahoma City in an elimination game on the road. ...Klay Thompson takes so much pressure off of Steph Curry. We don't show this man enough respect on how great of a shooter he is, how great of a player he is and what he brings to the game of basketball, especially to the Golden State Warriors."
Redick talked a little more about Kyrie, praising his game, too, explaining how important he would be for the Nets once he comes back, but ultimately saying that Klay is the piece the Warriors need to become championship favorites over the Phoenix Suns, Chicago Bulls, Milwaukee Bucks, and even the Nets.
Klay's return has been in the making for almost three years. He's looking as sharp as ever in recent videos and Warriors fans hope to see the best version of the shooting guard. If he gets back at 80%-90%, it'll be a huge problem for the rest of the league.