As Golden State Warriors’ Klay Thompson was finally cleared for 5-on-5 practices, he tried to suit up and be engaged for conditioning on Tuesday — playing with first-year man Jonathan Kuminga, player development coach Leandro Barbosa and executive Zaza Pachulia.
It was perhaps his first time to experience it since the Game 6 of the 2019 NBA Finals and the 2020 offseason — the times wherein he succumbed from his two separate major setbacks.
“It’s so exciting,” Thompson said. “Just to be running up and down the court and playing basketball, it’s truly a blessing and it makes coming to work so easy. The boring stuff’s behind me and now it’s just getting back in game shape — I got to stay patient because I can be an overeager person to get out there and play, but I’m just incredibly grateful to be out there.
“The work the training staff and I have done over the last two years is really paying off, and it’s hard to put into words how grateful I am to be playing basketball again.”
In other way around, the target date of return for Thompson remains to be determined on the side of head coach Steve Kerr, as he desires the phenom sniper to build endurance and confidence that were diminished in the two-season layoff.
“We don’t have a target date,” Kerr said. “What we have is a number of weeks ahead of us for certain where we’re going to play it out, keep letting him scrimmage as often as possible so that he’ll build that endurance. And I would think within a few weeks we’ll be able to finally sort of get a target date, but we don’t have one right now.”
Thompson, meanwhile, remains hopeful for the most possible return he can have. Like Kerr, he has no definite timetable yet to represent the Warriors suit once again.
“Hopefully sooner rather than later because I am really excited to get back to balling.”
With the reemergence of the Dubs atop the NBA’s undisputed powerhouses this season, Thompson is determined to contribute for the establishment of another championship puzzle and prove the naysayers wrong about their initial claims on the Bay area’s direction. Indeed, he have high hopes that this great start will translate to more positivity in the long run.
Having a “now-or-never” mindset is the three-time champion’s current motto moving ahead, as he wants the current Warriors team to be laser focus on the ultimate prize.
“It’s incredible. I mean, 15-2 is pretty ridiculous,” Thompson told reporters. “I don’t think any of the pundits saw this coming. … It’s very inspiring for me to go into workouts knowing this is the best team in the league right now.
“We are now a type of team where it’s championship or bust. That’s a really cool position to be in. Not a lot of guys get to experience that … I’m more motivated than ever. I want a championship so bad. More than anything.”
The Warriors, after two straight campaigns of playoff shortcomings, is now a threatful force to face once again — trying to reminisce the glorious supremacy they had in the last decade. Currently being led by back-to-back MVP Steph Curry and navigated by star forward Draymond Green, they are poised to return for the reclamation of the basketball throne.
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