When the news of Warriors guard Klay Thompson’s injury first broke, I knew it wasn’t going to be light. At first, reports said he was “going to miss some games,” but Klay doesn’t just “miss some games.” He has time and time again proven to be one of the toughest and most resilient players in the league. From the way he speaks about potentially career-altering injuries, to shooting free throws on a torn ACL and begging Steve Kerr to allow him to keep playing, Thompson has shown that his toughness is a gift. Hence, it will be extremely tough to replace him this season.
The effect that Klay has on the team is staggering, and the numbers back it up. With Thompson playing at least 15 mins in the game, the Warriors win at a .702%, score 109.9 ppg, shooting 48% from the field, and 39.4% from three. Take Thompson out of the game, and those numbers fall to .440%, 103 ppg, 46% from the field, and 36% from three. Not to mention rebounds, assists, and steals per game are all down without Klay on the court as well. Shooting, perimeter defense, and leadership are Klay Thompson’s bread and butter, something Golden State will miss.
The most important part of the Warriors’ plan was the initial reaction. Not panicking, keeping a cool head, and finding a competent replacement was the key to success. And they did that, bringing in Kelly Oubre Jr. from the Oklahoma City Thunder to reunite with fellow KU alumnus, Andrew Wiggins. Oubre’s numbers and prestige may not be up to par with Klay. However, the moves that Golden State made following Oubre’s breakout year might be exactly what they were looking for. The move to acquire Oubre, which included the Warriors 2021 1st rounder, is a bold one that exudes confidence and should give fans a little relief. If Golden State thought they would be anywhere near the situation they were in this past season, it would be foolish to trade away a valuable pick. They’re banking on success.
Golden State looks to keep success alive and prove that last year was just a fluke. They are already bolstering their bench with the signings of Kent Bazemore and Brad Wanamaker, and there are rumors surrounding Jeremy Lin and Lou Williams to replace what guys like Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston brought to those title runs. If they can remain healthy, the Warriors’ potential lineup will most likely be as follows: PG – Steph Curry, F – Kelly Oubre Jr, F- Andrew Wiggins, F – Draymond Green, and C – James Wiseman. This could be a deadly lineup, but as any NBA fan knows: there are just so many “what if’s” for the Warriors.