Klay Thompson finally stepped on a court for the first time since tearing his ACL in Game 6 of the 2019 NBA Finals when the Warriors hosted a voluntary minicamp in San Francisco from Sept. 23 through Oct. 6.
The five-time All-Star is one of the greatest shooters of all time. Returning to the court should be a walk in the park for him, right? Well, a layoff of over 15 months isn't easy to overcome.
"The first day I felt a little rusty," Thompson said in a Q&A with The Undefeated's Marc J. Spears. "My jumper was going right. My jumper was going left. I’m getting beat back door. I’m getting beat on closeouts. The conditioning aspect was tough."
When you're one of the best ever at your craft, however, rust doesn't last too long. One the reps ramp up, the rust wears off and everything is squeaky clean again. The fellow Splash Brother quickly felt like the star player he always has been.
Shots soon fell through the net for a Klay, a reminder of the player he was prior to his injury and what he expects to be once the NBA decides when the next regular season will start.
"By the time the rust gets off, you start playing basketball, moving around, seeing shots go in, it is like night and day," Thompson said. "It makes you appreciate the game. Seeing my teammates was great. It was so fun being there."
The last time we saw the star shooting guard in game action, he scored 30 points in just under 32 minutes during an NBA Finals game. With a healthy core of Steph Curry, Draymond Green, Andrew Wiggins and Thompson, plus the No. 2 pick in the 2020 NBA Draft and multiple avenues to add talent this offseason, the Warriors expect to be right back in Finals contention this next season.
And Klay is a big reason why.