This Jock Blog is being penned just 24 hours after the first phone alert that Klay Thompson — no, not Klay! — went down in a pickup basketball game in Los Angeles with what was feared to be a significant heel injury.
And this Jock Blog is being penned about five hours after ESPN reported that the injury to Klay was, indeed, a torn Achilles that will cost him the 2020-21 season.
So, forgive me, please the scribblings written in a fog of numb acceptance to an unacceptable fate.
Does this mean the Warriors will not win the NBA Championship this year?
The Warriors will not win the NBA Championship this year.
Does this mean the Steph Curry-Klay Thompson-Draymond Green trio is finished winning NBA Championships?
That’s what we’re here to ponder.
The pondering is not pleasant.
The most likely answer is that the Steph-Klay-Dray group is done bringing the Larry O’Brien Trophy to the Bay Area. They won’t play together again until the 2021-2022 season, a campaign in which Steph will turn 34, and Klay and Draymond will turn 32. And Thompson will be coming off of two years missed because of a torn ACL and a torn Achilles — neither of which makes for a wildly optimistic scenario. The Warriors will be old, the West will be young.
But . . .
There is a faint glow of embers on this dying Warrior championship fire.
Having your top three players aged into your 30s does not, by any means, prevent a championship run. Two recent examples: the 2014 San Antonio Spurs danced with Larry O while riding the legs of 37-year-old Tim Duncan, 36-year-old Manu Ginobili and 31-year-old Tony Parker. Of course, it was not insignificant that the roster also contained 22-year-old Kawhi Leonard. More on that later.
Another hopeful example: the 2008 Celtics also hung a banner in the rafter of multitudes in Boston while featuring 32-year-old Ray Allen, 31-year-old Kevin Garnett and 30-year-old Paul Pierce.
Even the 2019 Toronto Raptors (I know, I know) featured thirtysomethings like Kyle Lowry (32), Danny Green (31) and old man Marc Gasol (34). Of course, they also featured 27-year-old Kawhi Leonard. There’s that name again.
So perhaps it’s not outrageous to think that a supremely conditioned Steph, an “old man strength” Draymond and a bionically-rebuilt Klay could make that June 2022 run. Yes, June of 2022 sounds incredibly futuristic. But what, you want to stay stuck in the horse manure endlessness of 2020? Shoot, at this point, June of 2022 sounds blissful — with concerts at Chase Center, hot dogs and peanuts at a packed Oracle Park and high-fives with your COVID-free seat mate whenever James Wiseman throws down another roof-rattling dunk.
And there’s that name! James Wiseman.
No pressure, kid, but if the old, gray Dubs named Steph, Klay and Dray are going to rally up for one more ‘Lonesome Dove’-like cattle ride, it’s going to take the 2020 No. 2 pick to turn into an NBA beast, the Chris Bosh-type/Rudy Gobert-with-offense/young David Robinson comp we’ve all heard tossed around this week.
He’d be like the young Jedi that Kawhi was for the ancient Spurs in 2014.
And of course, you know Joe Lacob will be out here sparing no expense to make sure the 2021-2022 Warriors have everything they need — futuristic locker rooms out of ‘The Terminator Part 7’, a cryogenic chamber for Klay’s repaired Achilles and ACL, and a luxury tax threshold he will treat like his own personal playground.
Is this Jock Blog an exercise in folly? In reality, are the Warriors toast in the West as the Denver Nuggets rise up, the Clippers fully form and the ageless LeBron keeps the Lakers ever relevant?
But I’ve had enough depression for one day. Let’s start planning for June of 2022. No masks required.