There was some monumental NBA news on Thursday, November 19, as one of the league's premier talents went down with a devastating injury. Golden State Warriors' shooting guard and perennial All-Star Klay Thompson tore his right achilles tendon, rendering him out for the entire 2020-21 NBA season.
This will shake up the Western Conference playoff picture and betting odds without question. When healthy, Thompson and Steph Curry make up the best backcourt in the NBA, however, without Thompson last season, the Dubs failed to qualify for the playoffs and finished with the league's worst record (15-50).
Betting Odds Impact
Here is a look at the betting markets this injury will impact for the upcoming NBA season (Odds via Fanduel):
- Thompson was one of 51 players listed at +25000 to win the 2020-21 Regular Season MVP Award
- The Warriors NBA Championship odds moved from +950 to +2500
- The Warriors odds to win the Western Conference moved from +410 to +1200
Impact on the Warriors
This is heartbreaking news for both Thompson, the Warriors organization and the NBA as a whole. Klay had just recently returned to fully participating in workouts and running full-court games after missing the entirety of the 2019-20 season due to a torn ACL, which he suffered in the 2019 NBA Finals. Without question, Thompson is one of the premier two-way talents in the league, excelling on both ends of the floor with his scoring ability and on-ball defense.
In 2018-19, his last season healthy, he averaged 21.5 points per game on 40.2 percent shooting from three-point range. He is a spark that can get hot at any given moment and go on shooting-tears (he owns the NBA record for most points in a quarter with 37) and he's a defender capable of guarding the opposing team's best player, night in and night out.
Thompson also helps free up Steph offensively, and they play off of each other very well. Now, the No. 2 spot in the starting lineup will be in question as they look to adapt.
Many were predicting a resurgence for the re-loaded Warriors with their battered core finally healthy and second overall pick James Wiseman added to the roster. This news is obviously devastating for those hopes.
Can the Warriors Overcome Klay's Injury?
With the upcoming NBA season approaching rapidly after a quick turnaround from the bubble, the Warriors are acting quickly in an attempt to reshuffle the deck to remain competitive in the Western Conference.
Selecting 19-year old James Wiseman, a 7'1" center out of Memphis University, with the second overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, doesn't fill the specific void left by Klay, but it definitely helps. An athletic, scoring big, Wiseman will help the Warriors stretch the court and demand attention from opposing teams post players. He should give Steph an excellent pick-and-roll option that will open up scoring opportunities for the former MVP.
Additionally, the Dubs have made a move for Kelly Oubre Jr., swapping a 2021 first-round pick for the 24-year-old small forward in a deal with the Phoenix Suns. Oubre Jr. has improved every year since being drafted by the Wizards in 2015 and is coming off a season where he averaged 18.7 points, 6.4 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 1.3 steals per game. While he's not a like-for-like replacement for Klay, he gives the Warriors an interesting dynamic with a good looking potential starting five of Steph Curry (point gaurd), Andrew Wiggins (shooting guard), Kelly Oubre (small forward), Draymond Green (power forward) and James Wiseman (center).
With NBA free agency opening up on Friday, the Warriors may be more aggressive in their pursuits now with the need for more firepower if they hope to compete in the West. While they have some cap restraints, they could apply for an injury exemption to free up some salary space for the 2020-21 season which is slated to begin on December 22.
The NBA is a better league when Thompson is playing, that's for sure. He brings electricity and intensity that few can replicate. Fans around the globe will undoubtedly miss him. We wish nothing but the best for him and for a healthy, speedy recovery.