It's generally understood by now that most professional athletes don't reach their pre-injury tear peak in their first season back on the playing field after suffering a torn ACL. What about when a player finally returns from devastating injuries to both his knee and Achilles, though? Klay Thompson will prove a fascinating test case in that regard with the Golden State Warriors next season.

And after proving his defensive bonafides in the latter of the NBA Finals, his father is ever-confident that Thompson will “be even better” in 2022-23.

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“I thought he was fine last year, you guys overlooked his defense,” Mychal Thompson said of his son on 95.7 The Game's Willard & Dibs. “The defense he was playing in the Finals, that’s the part I was most concerned about, will he be able to slide his feet defensively and stay in front of guys the way he did in the past? And he did that. He played great defense against two of the best scorers in the league against [Jaylen] Brown and [Jayson] Tatum, so if you can defend those two guys, stay in front of those two guys, you’re fine.

“So yeah, Klay's going to be even better next year because he will have an offseason to train and [he’s] further away from his injury, so he’s going to be just fine.”

Thompson made his long-awaited return to the floor from nearly two-and-a-half seasons on the sidelines on January 9th, scoring his first points since the 2019 NBA Finals on a driving dunk. Though that highlight play proved indicative of his sustained health, Thompson nevertheless struggled to regain the form that made him a perennial All-NBA contender before tearing his ACL three years ago.

But concerns over his shot selection, relative inefficiency and individual defensive struggles miss the forest through the trees. Just getting back on the court and staying on it without incident is a major victory for Thompson. That he emerged as a two-way cog as Golden State dominated the Boston Celtics in the last three games of the Finals provides even more room for optimism going forward.

Will Thompson ever reach his pre-injury peak? At 32 years old, it seems doubtful. But he still has plenty of championship-level basketball left in him—likely even more than we saw as Klay Thompson helped the Warriors win their fourth title in eight seasons.

[h/t Tristi Rodriguez, NBC Sports Bay Area]