With Klay Thompson’s return expected next month and the rest of the old gang healthy (plus Iggy’s back!), your Golden State Warriors are eyeing their seventh NBA championship and tipping off against LeBron and the Lakers tonight.
It is just the antidote Bay Area sports fans need five days after the Giants’ crushing playoff elimination — a star-studded San Francisco team credibly contending for a title and frequently playing on national television. The Golden State Warriors tip off this evening against LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers (7 p.m., on TNT), and then have their opener at Chase Center Thursday night against the Clippers (also 7 p.m., also on TNT). Steph Curry is probably practicing shots from the locker room tunnel as we speak.
And the Warriors are really good again, baby! MGM Resort & Casino has the Warriors with the third-best odds to win the title (actually tied for third, with Giannis and the Milwaukee Bucks), and behind only the Brooklyn Nets and the Lakers. But the Nets’ star Kyrie Irving is benched unless he gets vaccinated, and unlike the Warriors’ resident anti-vaxxer Andrew Wiggins who did break down and get the shot, Irving is still refusing. But that is Eastern Conference drama, the Warriors are more concerned with the Lakers, who’ve added Russell Westbrook, and for what it’s worth, the decaying remains of Carmelo Anthony. Note also that the Dubs’ Christmas Day matchup is with the defending Western Conference champion Phoenix Suns (2 p.m. on ABC).
First week of the regular season and Klay Thompson appears close to 100%. He stayed after practice today shooting threes, and he looks good. He’s expected to return to full contact at practice in the next month. The Splash Brothers should be reunited soon! @kron4news #DubNation pic.twitter.com/FjZkFvA2CL— Kylen Mills (@KylenMills) October 18, 2021
Long-injured Klay Thompson will not return tonight, but he’s expected back around Thanksgiving, and the Splash Brothers will be an actively functioning thing again. Chiseled fan favorite Andre Iguodala is back on the team, so with Steph and Draymond Green fully healthy (knock on wood), the pre-Kevin Durant “Core Four” will hold court again.
The Warriors have signed guard Gary Payton II to a contract.— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) October 19, 2021
Gary appeared in 10 games for the Dubs during the 2020-21 season, posting averages of 2.5 points and 1.1 rebounds in 4.0 minutes per game. pic.twitter.com/ok4bGK3I4n
The Warriors do have some injuries to role players. Promising second-year center James Wiseman, and the No. 7 overall draft pick Jonathan Kuminga are both out until probably November at the earliest. But on a fun local level, they’ve resigned Gary Payton II, son of Hall Of Fame Oakland native Gary Payton.
A more entertaining subplot, which may or may not affect the Warriors, is the ongoing conundrum of all-star 76ers forward Ben Simmons. You may recall that the Sixers were eliminated from the playoffs by Atlanta (Atlanta!) because Simmons basically could not hit one single free-throw under any circumstances. He has pouted and demanded a trade ever since, and earlier today was suspended from the team for throwing a tantrum in practice. It sure seems the Sixers have no option but trade him, and the Warriors were rumored to be a suitor, until owner Joe Lacob got fined for tampering when discussing Simmons. His comments sounded skeptical of adding Simmons, though people in his position are known to blow smoke.
And gosh, if only the Warriors had the greatest free throw shooter of all time by percentage the help tutor Simmons, that trade arrangement might indeed work.
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 08: Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors looks on against the Los Angeles Lakers at Chase Center on October 08, 2021 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)