Warriors one of four West teams in '21 title mix, Klay's dad says


If the Los Angeles Lakers defeat the Miami Heat on Friday night in Game 5 of the NBA Finals, they will capture their 17th NBA title.

And if Anthony Davis re-signs with the franchise this offseason (spoiler alert -- that is going to happen), the Lakers absolutely will have a chance next season to win their 18th Larry O'Brien Trophy.

But they are going to have to deal with a team that was not standing in their way this season.

"As far as the Warriors are concerned, they’ll be back in the title mix next year," Klay Thompson's father, Mychal, recently told GQ's Michael Pina. "They won’t be the favorite like they were a couple years ago when KD (Kevin Durant) was there, but they’ll be in the mix in the Western Conference, along with the (Denver) Nuggets and the Lakers and the (LA) Clippers."

This is a very rational, fair statement.

If the Warriors stay healthy -- and fill out the roster this offseason with some solid contributors -- they are going to be really good again.

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The Clippers will be loaded again, and the motivation level will be off the charts after their embarrassing collapse in in the Western Conference semifinals.

The Nuggets should be able to build on their deep playoff run in the Orlando bubble, but coach Michael Malone knows the challenge that lies ahead.

"We can't be satisfied. None of us can be satisfied with getting to the Western Conference finals," he told reporters last week. "None of us can be of the thought process that we got there this year (so) it's an automatic we'll make it again next year.

"We have to remember that teams like Golden State were not in the picture this year -- they'll be back. It's gonna be a different landscape next year."

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In order for the Warriors to "be back," they'll need Klay to return to the player he was before tearing his left ACL in Game 6 of the 2019 NBA Finals against the Toronto Raptors.

And there is reason to be very optimistic on that front.

"Klay is doing great. He’s doing all basketball activities, been cleared for that," Mychal said. "He was just at the Warriors training camp last week, practicing with the team and by all indications he’ll be ready to go in January when the season starts up again."

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