Klay Thompson’s health and other takeaways from Warriors minicamp

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The Warriors’ two-week minicamp ended Tuesday, and though participation in the “dubble” was voluntary and did not include Stephen Curry and Draymond Green, there is still much to glean from Golden State’s first group workouts since its season ended in March. Here are some of the takeaways.

1. The Warriors are being careful with Klay Thompson

During minicamp, Klay Thompson practiced with the team for the first time since he tore his left ACL in Game 6 of the 2019 NBA Finals. It was his first group workout in 470 days.

“I didn’t expect him to be in top shape, and he was not,” head coach Steve Kerr said then. “But he moved well, and it was a good first step.”

Understanding there’s no rush with the start date of next season still unclear, the Warriors were cautious with their All-Star guard.

Thompson participated in controlled portions of practices each day — which included drills and one 5-on-5 scrimmage — but was not cleared for Friday’s game-like, 5-on-5 scrimmage that served as the unofficial conclusion of minicamp.

Still, players and coaches said they were impressed with Thompson. Kerr remarked he looked “bouncy,” and teammates appreciated his shooting, which was as good as ever. A video from the closed practices showed Thompson comfortably cutting and dunking off the left leg.

Thompson, 30, worked closely with director of sports medicine and performance Rick Celebrini and did not report any soreness during the camp.

“He’s feeling really good,” Kerr said. “He’s healthy. Rick’s not concerned at all about the injury. Everything’s healed really well.”

While Thompson seemed to be performing offensive drills well, the Warriors won’t know how he can handle defensive duties until he participates in a game-like scrimmage. It’s not yet clear how well he will move laterally or absorb contact as he continues to build confidence in that left knee.

When healthy, Thompson was among Golden State’s best wing defenders. It will need him back near 100% in order to lift last season’s 26th-rated defense.

2. Kevon Looney looks healthy

Limited to just 20 of 65 possible games last season due to a hip injury, neuropathic condition in his body and abdominal strain, Kevon Looney moved with more confidence in minicamp.

“I played last season scared to move,” Looney said, adding he hasn’t felt this good since his 2018-19 season, in which he played 80 games. “I feel like I can put all those injuries behind me.”

Looney, who underwent surgery for a core-muscle injury in May, was a full participant in drills and scrimmages. He reported being able to run the floor, jump and cut, and wake up without soreness.

“I’m able to do everything,” Looney said. “This camp has really been big for me to see where I’m at. That’s why I’ve been so excited.”

Like Thompson, Looney will be a big addition to the team’s defense, which will need to improve if the Warriors are to reclaim their contender status.

In 2018-19, Golden State had a 106.4 defensive rating with Thompson and Looney on the court. With Thompson and Looney sidelined most of last season, the Warriors posted a defensive rating of 113.0.

3. Jordan Poole is working on a breakout second season

After struggling to start his NBA career, Jordan Poole, the 28th pick in last year’s draft, was playing his best basketball when the season was postponed in March.

Over his final 13 games of the season, Poole averaged 14.3 points on 47.2% shooting and 3.9 assists per game — a dramatic improvement from shooting about 25% through the first few months of the season.

Poole, who aims to build on that finish in his second year, has been working individually at Chase Center for weeks prior to minicamp, and impressed coaches during the formal workouts.

“He’s been the most consistent presence in this building,” Kerr said of Poole. “He’s earned the confidence that he’s playing with. He looks like a guy who feels like he belongs.”

Should Poole step up next season, he would add an element of shot-making and playmaking off the bench. At 6-foot-4, 194 pounds, Poole could emerge as an option to back up Curry.

“Usually, guys take the biggest steps in their careers between years one and two,” Kerr said. “That’s been my experience, that once guys have the experience under their belt, they know what they’re getting into and they feel it. And the next year, they come back with a different level of play and that’s what I’m seeing with Jordan.”

4. Marquese Chriss could be the center of the future

By the end of the season, Marquese Chriss emerged as the Warriors’ starting center. Impressed with his ability to facilitate, set screens and roll to the rim, Kerr thinks Chriss’ best is ahead of him.

“I think he’s established himself with us,” Kerr said. “He’s much more comfortable coming into camp. We have high hopes for him. We are trying to push him because we feel like he can get a lot better.”

If the Warriors believe Chriss, 23, can become a reliable starting center for a playoff team, it could change the decision-making this offseason. As league sources recently told the Bay Area News Group, the Warriors are not high on the centers in this upcoming draft — which includes former Memphis center James Wiseman and USC’s Onyeka Okongwu.

With Chriss building on a strong season and Looney healthy, the Warriors are expected to add a more traditional-sized big man through free agency to complete their platoon at the position.

“You’re always going to have to have a good center to protect the rim, block shots and grab rebounds,” Kerr said.

5. Offseason plans come into focus

Golden State’s biggest regret to a premature end of its season was not seeing newly-acquired Andrew Wiggins play with a healthy roster for more than a small sample size. Even without Curry and Green at minicamp, the Warriors were able to project how this team will look, and what the front office may need to address in the draft and free agency.

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