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Steve Kerr drops Klay Thompson truth bomb that will fire up Dubs fans

Klay Thompson, Warriors

Most players don’t get better in their early 30s. If there’s one silver lining of the multiple injuries that cost Klay Thompson two-and-a-half seasons of his prime, though, it’s that he’s poised to be even better in 2022-23 than he was after his long-awaited return to the Golden State Warriors.

Warriors coach Steve Kerr told reporters on Thursday that he’s confident the veteran sharpshooter is due for a banner campaign as Golden State looks to defend its title. Why? Team medical personnel has continually stressed to Warriors staffers that players coming back from Thompson’s injuries—a left ACL tear and right Achilles rupture—typically regain most of their prior form in their second season removed from the sidelines.

“Our training staff repeatedly has told him and told us over the last year he’ll be better this year than he was the second half of last year, just because of the nature of the injury,” Kerr said. “I expect him to have a big year and be more consistent. I thought he showed that he was still himself last year, but it was more sporadic. I think it’ll be more consistent this year. I think we’re all sort of anticipating that.”

Thompson’s father, Mychal, a two-time NBA champion with the “Showtime” Los Angeles Lakers, used that same justification earlier this summer to express confidence in his son coming back “even better” in 2022-23.

“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,” Mychal Thompson told 95.7 The Game in July.

Thompson put up solid per-game numbers last season upon returning to the floor on January 9th, but his efficiency and defensive effectiveness, understandably, lagged behind his pre-injury peak. He was at least somewhat more selective with his shot selection in the playoffs, though, shooting 41.0% on spot-up triples, per NBA.com/stats, and finishing with slightly improved 55.0 true shooting percentage. Thompson’s individual defense on the likes of Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum proved surprisingly stout in the back half of the NBA Finals, too.

Will Thompson ever scrape the peak that made him an annual fringe All-NBA candidate before the injury bug bit? Probably not. But being a solid defender with positional versatility whose shooting prowess poses a scheme-bending threat to defenses is very valuable regardless, and seems like an easily achievable goal for a healthy Thompson in 2022-23.

[NBC Sports Bay Area]