Here’s how the NBA has changed since he left

Top line

Golden State Warriors goalie Klay Thompson could make his long-awaited return to action on Sunday in his team’s game with the Cleveland Cavaliers, ESPN reported Monday, after a 31-month injury absence in a league that has both changed and stayed the same since he was first sidelined.

Highlights

The team will make a final decision on Thompson’s possible debut on Sunday after the Warriors return home after a two-game road trip on Friday.

Thompson tore his LCA in Game 6 of the 2019 NBA Finals in June 2019 before tearing up his Achille tendon while recovering from the ACL injury in November 2020, missing a total of 173 straight games for the Warriors.

The Warriors currently hold the NBA’s best record at 28-7 despite Thompson being absent, with his Warriors teammate and two-time MVP Stephen Curry breaking the all-time record for the 3 last month and currently sits as the paris favorite to win his third MVP.

Since Thompson fell, the Los Angeles Lakers and Milwaukee Bucks have won the 2019-20 and 2020-21 NBA Championships respectively, with Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo and Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic winning League MVPs, respectively. 2019-20 and 2020-21.

Thompson has yet to play a game during the Covid-19 pandemic, which has forced a four-month postponement of the 2019-20 season and is currently keeping dozens of players and coaches on the sidelines due to a massive outbreak from the omicron variant.

Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James has remained dominant since tearing Achilles from Thompson, winning the 2020 NBA Finals MVP title in his team’s championship race and currently holding the fifth-best. player efficiency rating in the NBA despite turning 37 last week.

Large number

82-91. It’s the Warriors’ record since Thompson’s fall, although 50 of those losses came in the 2019-20 season, when Curry was sidelined for much of the year due to ‘a hand injury.

Surprising fact

The Phoenix Suns, who held the Western Conference’s worst 19-93 record in 2018-19 when Thompson fell, were two wins away from an NBA championship last season after acquiring future Hall of Famer Chris Paul and developing young stars Devin Booker, Deandre Ayton and Mikal Bridges.

List

Many stars have changed teams since Thompson last saw the NBA, including:

  • Kevin Durant (Thompson’s former Warriors teammate, now a Brooklyn Net)
  • James Harden (then a Houston Rocket, now a Net too)
  • Kyrie Irving (then a Boston Celtic, also now a Net)
  • Anthony Davis (then a New Olreans Pelican, now a Laker)
  • Chris Paul (from a rocket to a thunderous Oklahoma City to a Phoenix sun)
  • Russell Westbrook (from Thunder to a Rocket to a Washington Assistant to a Laker)
  • Jimmy Butler (then a Philadelphia 76er, now a Miami Heat)
  • DeMar DeRozan (then a San Antonio Spur, now a Chicago Bull)

Key context

Thompson, 31, was seen as the other half of the “Splash brothers”Dynamic duo alongside Curry for his prolific and efficient 3-point shooting ability. Widely regarded as one of the the biggest shooters in NBA history, the five-time all-star broke Curry’s record for most 3s made in a game while hitting 14 against the Chicago Bulls in 2018. He also holds the record for most points in a quarterback with 37. Thompson played a key role in all three Warriors championship races in 2015, 2017 and 2018.

Surprising fact

Thompson has already scored a career high 60 points in 29 minutes of playing time (the least needed to reach 60 in a game in NBA history) while completing just 11 dribbles, encapsulating his unique ability to get out of the ball and find gaps in defenses .