Skip to main content

Open Floor: Klay Thompson is Back & Kawhi Leonard Is Coming

Klay is back and the Warriors are looking as dangerous as ever. Plus we answer your questions about KD, Kawhi and much more.

In today’s episode, Michael and Rohan react to Klay Thompson’s triumphant return and wonder if it makes the Warriors clear title favorites or not. They then open up the mailbag and answer a few questions about eventual comebacks to the court by Jamal Murray, Anthony Davis, and Kawhi Leonard, and how they will impact the Western Conference. Should the Celtics actually consider trading Jayson Tatum instead of Jaylen Brown, or would that be a potentially devastating overreaction? Also, why are the Hawks so disappointing? Then, Michael predicts All-Star starters for the 2026-27 season.

The following transcript is an excerpt from the Open Floor podcast. Listen to the full episode on podcast players everywhere or on SI.com.

Michael Pina: We have a lot of fun stuff to get to on today’s show. We have Klay Thompson’s return and what it means for the Warriors. We have Kawhi Leonard reportedly being ahead of schedule in his rehab, whatever that means, and what that means for the rest of the league, and so much more. But first, a quick reminder to all of our wonderful listeners to please keep the emails coming in—openfloormail@gmail.com. Uh, Rohan let’s start with Klay Thompson because this is just an awesome story. Yesterday, after tearing his ACL and rupturing his achilles, Klay made his triumphant return to the court on Sunday night against the Cavs scoring 17 points in 20 minutes, he took 18 shots, just vintage Klay. Um, he made his very first shot—this runner in the paint, he dunked in traffic which was just like the greatest moment of 2022 so far, went 3-for-8 from behind the arc, he got blown by a few times on defense. We can talk about that in a minute, um, and sparked this vintage classic warriors run to start the third quarter.

Rohan Nadkarni: Would you say it was vintage?

Michael Pina: Did I say vintage too many times?

Rohan Nadkarni: I don't think so. It was an appropriate amount of times I'm sorry.

SI Recommends

Michael Pina: Well when we look at the vintage, um, Klay Thompson performance, just what are your thoughts? I know you wrote about it on SI.com, you did a fantastic recap. Everyone should go check that out. But what are your thoughts on what you saw yesterday?

Rohan Nadkarni: I mean, first and foremost, I think the NBA just really needed a night like that one. I feel like it’s been a long time since people were really looking forward to a regular-season game. And it felt like the first game this season that anyone actually had invested interest in, that the casual fan could kind of get behind and watch. So I thought it was great, and I tweeted this and I mean it. It just was a great example of why it’s so cool when teams do stay together. And I know the Warriors obviously have not had the exact same roster for the last 10 years, but the fact that they’ve had the main people in place for a while now, including Steve Kerr, Steph, Iguodala left but he came back, uh, just the fact that they’ve had these cast of characters and I love how the Warriors kind of leaned into it. You know, Draymond was injured, but they let him start. So everyone, the fans, the players could have that moment of their three guys back on the court together. Uh, that stuff’s awesome. That’s what makes team sports so special. So I thought that was just a great moment and really something the NBA season needed. Um, building off of that. I mean, I think Klay looked good. You kind of hit the highlights there. First and foremost, what is their closing lineup going to be? Because I think they have more options frankly than they’ve ever had before. If they’re looking for that “death lineup”, 3.0, we know Wiggins, Steph, Klay and Dray in a playoff game are going to be four guys on the court, down the stretch, but then you have options. You have Looney, you have Wiseman potentially.

Michael Pina: I gotta say, the first two names you threw out there are not the first two I was thinking of.

Rohan Nadkarni: If you want another guy to hound guards, defensively, you have Gary Payton, obviously you have Iguodala, uh, Otto Porter had moments this season. If you want to go super small and rely on scoring, you have Jordan Poole. They just have so many options now to close games. I think that's going to be really interesting. I would also expect some hiccups while working Klay back into the rotation here, only because you have those players who've really settled into their roles. And now everyone’s going to have to kind of adjust a bit to accommodate him. So there might be a couple of hiccups, but I think they have so many options to close games now and that's gotta be pretty frightening. 

Listen to the Open Floor Podcast

More NBA Coverage:

 Jarrett Allen Is Quietly Making the Unlikeliest All-Star Case
NBA Power Rankings: Warriors Lead After Klay's Return
The Blockbuster Trade Proposal for Hawks and Celtics
NBA Rookie Rankings: Jalen Green's Shows Growth