The Golden State Warriors news that’s making headlines is the fact they’ll play a second consecutive season without Klay Thompson due to a torn Achilles suffered just before the NBA draft, and now Stephen Curry is speaking out about the devastating “gut punch” it was to hear of his teammate’s injury diagnosis.
In an interview with The Undefeated’s Marc J. Spears, Curry opened up about how emotional he became upon realizing Thompson wouldn’t be next to him in the backcourt for the upcoming 2020-21 NBA season.
Stephen Curry shed ‘a lot of tears’ over Klay Thompson’s injury
Considering Curry and Thompson — aka the “Splash Brothers” — have emerged as the best shooting backcourt in NBA history as longtime cornerstones of the Warriors franchise, it’s hardly a surprise that Curry would have a visceral reaction to the bad news. Here’s the main bit of what Curry said to The Undefeated about Thompson’s Achilles injury:
“To get that call was a gut punch for sure. A lot of tears. You don’t really know what to say because a guy like that is having to go through two pretty serious rehabs now. But at the end of the day, we have to have his back. We hope that he is around and a part of what we do through his rehab and staying connected with us.”The Undefeated
Thompson sustained a torn ACL during the 2019 NBA Finals and was just getting back into form off that major injury. Unfortunately, he’s now dealing with another long-term setback that will definitely call into question whether or not Golden State’s dynasty of recent years can continue.
This isn’t the first time the Dubs have lost a superstar to an Achilles tear. It happened to Kevin Durant the game before Thompson blew out his knee. The fact that Thompson will have lost two years of his prime and has been with Golden State since the franchise drafted him in 2011 makes this sting even more, though.
Warriors news: How will Stephen Curry and the Warriors adjust to Klay Thompson’s absence during 2020-21 season?
In addition to ranking among the greatest 3-point shooters of all-time, Thompson is a top-flight perimeter defender whose prowess on that end of the court masks some of Curry’s shortcomings. It was an obvious area the Warriors needed to address, and they did so at the dawn of free agency this past week when they traded for a dynamic wing in Kelly Oubre Jr., who averaged 18.7 points with the Phoenix Suns last season.
Oubre has played a similar role to Andrew Wiggins during his young career, but both can flex out to the 2-guard spot and provide passable, if not Thompson-caliber marksmanship, from beyond the arc. There’s little doubt head coach Steve Kerr will have to shift Golden State’s identity from offensive juggernaut to more of a gritty defensive squad.
Between Oubre, Wiggins, former Defensive Player of the Year Draymond Green and No. 2 overall draft pick James Wiseman, the Dubs are oozing with potential on defense, boasting an incredible combination of size and athleticism. The bigger questions are as follows: can Wiseman adjust to the NBA level swiftly enough, and will a better organizational culture coax more out of Wiggins, who’s largely underachieved in six seasons as a pro?
Offseason optimism can often be falsely founded, yet Curry seems jazzed about how the front office has retooled the roster, even as the team can, in theory, make additional trades to improve the superstar’s supporting cast.
“Not seeing [Thompson] on the court, at first, is going to be weird,” Curry said, per The Undefeated. “But I think we’ve done a really good job in the offseason with James and our draft picks and in the free agency pool to put together a really solid roster. We’re going to have to learn a lot really quickly, and we will need a full commitment from everybody.”
Curry also said, unlike years past, the Warriors aren’t a heavy favorite to win the NBA title. Absent the burden of massive expectations, perhaps Golden State will thrive in the role of the underdog.
Having hoisted the Larry O’Brien Trophy three times with Thompson at his side, it’ll take a Herculean effort for Curry to help this young bunch ascend among the NBA’s elite, but the talent is there — not to mention the championship pedigree among the team’s leadership triumvirate of Curry, Kerr and Green.