Friday, December 3 2021

Where Klay, Draymond rank on ESPN’s 100 best NBA players list originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

The Warriors have hopes of returning to one of the Western Conference’s premier teams this season. 

Having missed the playoffs the previous two seasons, Golden State will lean on their home-grown core of Steph Curry, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson as they look to re-establish themselves as a title contender. 

If that were to come to fruition, it’ll take healthy, productive seasons from both Green and Thompson. ESPN is in the process of releasing their list of the 100 best players in the NBA, and both Thompson and Green made the list. 

Thompson, who has missed the previous two seasons due to ACL and Achilles injuries, has found his way back into the rankings after not being eligible last season due to injury. If healthy, ESPN views Thompson as the No. 32 best player in the league. 

“Arguably the single biggest question mark in the league is whether Thompson will return to form after missing two years because of ACL and Achilles injuries,” ESPN analyst Nick Friedell writes. “If he does, the Warriors believe they can vault themselves back toward the top of the Western Conference. If he doesn’t, any hope the Warriors have of being title contenders in the near future is gone.”

Because of his Achilles rupture, Thompson wasn’t eligible for 2020 NBArank,” ESPN analyst Kevin Pelton writes. “He returns 14 spots lower than 2018 before the ACL tear he suffered in that season’s NBA Finals. Given the combination of injuries, that seems optimistic, though former teammate Durant showed it’s possible to come back from an Achilles injury as good as ever.”

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Green, who continues to be one of the best defensive players in the league year in and year out, rose seven spots from his rank of 44 last season to 37 entering the 2021-22 season. 

“Will his offense reappear? Green showed that he can still play at an extremely high level on the defensive end and is a playmaker for the Warriors offensively in helping set up the best ways for Curry to go off,” Friedell writes. “The question is whether he will be able to consistently hit the open looks he’s being given by opposing defenses.”

There’s no question that Curry, one of the league’s unquestioned superstars will keep the Warriors in contention throughout the season. If the Warriors continue to get excellent play from Green, and a healthy return from Thompson, there’s no limit to what could be in store for Golden State this season. 

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Source: Yahoo Sports

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