Klay Thompson's NBA career looked in jeopardy after one of the best stretches of his career ended with a brutal injury. After being on the verge of a three-peat in 2019, Thompson ended up tearing his ACL during the NBA Finals and being ruled out for the entire 2019-20 season. Due to the pandemic, many were excited to see Thompson return in 2020-21 after the season break was extended till December of that year.
Sadly, right before training camp resumed, Thompson ended up tearing his Achilles during a scrimmage with other NBA players like Myles Turner. That injury would rule Klay out for a second consecutive season and meant that he wouldn't even be healed up by the time the 2021-22 season began in October 2021.
Klay finally returned to the court on January 3, 2022, 941 days after he last played in an NBA game in June 2019. He didn't look like the same reliable second-option that Stephen Curry has always had, but he worked to that form by the time the playoffs came around. Thompson led the Warriors in minutes played in their 2022 championship run, averaging 36 minutes played across 22 post-season games. He thanked the Warriors' trainers after they won the title.
Andrew Wiggins was second for the Warriors, averaging 34.9 minutes played over the playoffs. The man who won Finals MVP, Stephen Curry, was a close third behind Wiggins, averaging 34.7 minutes played.
Will We See Vintage Klay Thompson Next Season?
Klay Thompson has had a summer to work on his game for the first time in years. His last few pre-seasons have been spent rehabbing injuries, but he can actually work on improving his touch on the basketball court once again. Thompson had portions where he was a streaky shooter and lacked the same defensive movement he did prior to his injuries.
Klay will never be the same player again. Not only because of the 2 very serious injuries but also because aging will always affect players. With the emergence of Jordan Poole and Andrew Wiggins, Klay's role can be reduced for the best interest of everyone on the team.
As long as Thompson is still the reliable 3-and-D player he is, he will continue logging heavy minutes. The next generation of Warriors are waiting to get the mantle from the old veterans, and Klay may be one of the first to pass it to them next season.