He asked what “doldrums” meant. He reminisced about building a snowman. Asked about how his rehab is going, he included that his suits “are well-tailored.”
His shot is still to be determined. But socially, Klay Thompson has not lost his touch.
The entertainingly low-key superstar addressed reporters for the first time since late September’s media day during halftime of Tuesday’s 124-97 loss to the Mavericks at Chase Center, and while he displayed the same jarringly understated nature that has made him such an NBA character, he also did not inspire hope he will be suiting up this season.
Rehab “is going great,” Thompson said, before adding, “Obviously I wish I could be out there. It’s been a long process. I haven’t stopped working since the third day after Game 6 of the 2019 Finals. You might not see me a lot, but oh, I’m working. I don’t know what’s going to come this season — I would love to get out there.”
After thanking the fans, he added the finishing touch, which may be the finishing touch on his lost season.
“I’m trying to make sure this type of injury never happens to me again,” Thompson said of his torn ACL. “So I’ll be very patient because I want to play at a high level until I’m in my late 30s.”
Thus, the chances are a bit longer of a 2019-20 return that has been speculated but mostly in doubt since Steve Kerr said in October that he was “unlikely” to play this season. The tank hopes pick up — the Warriors (9-33) dropped to the NBA’s worst record Tuesday, a half-game “ahead” of the Hawks — but the hopes that the end of this season will be more watchable take a hit.
Thompson will be reevaluated after February’s All-Star break, when doctors will help make the call on this season. Thompson looks to be in shape and has been putting up shots with his teammates, as he’s increasingly around the team. But in such a ruined season, putting a Thompson who’s even 99 percent healthy would seem foolhardy.
Stephen Curry figures to make his return in March at the latest, but he’ll be joining Thompson in college before the pros. Curry will be attending Saturday’s ceremony at Washington State, where Thompson’s jersey will be retired at his alma mater. Thompson, the school’s all-time leading scorer in just three collegiate seasons, will own the second basketball jersey in the rafters. (We all knew about and remember Steve Puidokas’ prowess.)
“It fit my personality perfectly,” Thompson said of the Pullman campus, which was fittingly out-there for a Southern California guy. “… I studied a lot. I enjoyed going to class, especially in the summertime, summer session was nice. I had a key to the gym, that was all I needed. We had a stereo system.
“It was nice getting to play the Beasley Coliseum. That felt so big back then, 11, 11,500 people fit in there. And just to be the best show in town, too. … It was just fun knowing that the college powered the town and really united a community.”
There has not been much for Warriors fans to cheer this season and about as much for Thompson to be excited about. At least he has something near to look forward to.
“Klay does need to be occupied, for sure,” Steve Kerr said before the game. “And so I’m excited for him. It’s a great honor and I wish I could be there. Being there in East Lansing with Draymond [Green, at his jersey retirement] last month was incredible. It’s just fun to see kind of the early parts of these guys’ stories, where they began.”
Thompson was his entertaining self, jokingly refusing a question when he thought a reporter called him “Steph”; thanking the media for being there while also adding, “You’re welcome for me being here.” He was in good spirits and had a right to be.
But it sounds as if those everyday charms may not reappear this season.