Klay Thompson hangs out on the left wing, where he receives assists from members of the Santa Cruz Warriors coaching staff at Kaiser Permanente Arena on Monday afternoon. He immediately splashes the house six 3-pointers in a row.
On the rare occasion when a gunshot ricochets off the rim, he shakes his head in the classic “Klay Deception” look – one of the many looks that Golden State Warriors fans have missed on their superstar guard at. over the past two seasons.
On the free throw line, missing seems like an impossible event, as countless shots dig into the net without even touching the inside of the rim. The court bells go off and Thompson walks down the tunnel with the rest of the Sea Dubs.
Thompson, along with James Wiseman, Golden State’s first-round pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, are with the G League club for a few days this week as they continue to work their way into the form of the NBA.
Thompson, 31 and three-time NBA champion, missed the past two seasons with a ripped ACL he suffered in a dramatic Game 6 loss to Toronto in the 2019 NBA Finals, then a ripped Achilles at a pickup match in Los Angeles next year. Wiseman, 20, is recovering from a meniscus tear suffered last April.
The team did not make Thompson available after training, but Santa Cruz coach Seth Cooper said winger and co- “Splash Brother” Steph Curry was in good spirits.
“There is a lot of excitement there, he seems very happy to be here and be a part of the team for as long as that is,” said Cooper. “He’s been great here and you can see he’s ready to go through that last little bit as he finishes this trip and begins the next.”
He’s been great here and you can see he’s ready to go through that last little bit as he finishes this trip and begins the next.
– Seth Cooper
Although Thompson only participates in practice and scrum at the moment, he has been fully permitted to participate in basketball activities. Raymond Ridder, senior vice president of communications for Golden State, said Thompson is not expected to see the game action “anytime soon.”
“Everything we did was 100%, nothing was holding it back,” Cooper said. “It was really just letting him go and have him experience whatever it takes and he looked really good doing that.”
Cooper, who worked as a player development coach with Golden State before his stint as head coach of the Sea Dubs, believes Thompson’s progress is where it needs to be.
“He looks great – I was coaching the other team [in a scrimmage] and he came out and did four or five hits right away, ”Cooper said. “We called the time out and told our guys we probably didn’t need a scout report but No 11 can really shoot. I’m sure that’s not where he wants to be, but I think he’s in a very good position.
Cooper added that Thompson approached the activities in Santa Cruz like any Sea Dubs player would.
“I think that’s where Klay is really unique, his ability to blend in with everyone,” he said. “Based on how he interacts with the staff, other players and everyone around him. If you didn’t know who he was, it would appear that he was just another guy on the team, but obviously very good at basketball.
Thompson shared good experiences with the Santa Cruz organization, as his brother Mychel is a former member of the team and even won a championship with the Sea Dubs in 2015.
“He referred to the championship banner a few times and said his brother was on the team and maybe this year having a Thompson in the building again would bring another championship,” Cooper said. . “So, remembering that, he has fond memories of being in Santa Cruz.”
While Klay Thompson’s main focus is on getting the game mode back to full swing, Cooper said he mentioned going to the beach when possible.
“He told me to go bodyboard at the beach a bit,” he said. “He said surfers don’t like it, but he could get on social media and invite a bunch of guys to bodyboard with him.