Golden State Warriors guard and Splash Brother Klay Thompson is becoming an important part of Team USA in the FIBA world basketball cup. He is being used as an assassin three-point shooter and plus-defender of opposing guards.
Aside from playing with some of the game’s best players, working with coach Mike Krzyzewski and then new Warriors coach Steve Kerr this season will expose Thompson to coaching from two of the top basketball minds in the sport. It will give Thompson an opportunity to apply what he has learned and take the next step in his development.
Talking with the San Jose Mercury News‘ Marcus Thompson II, Thompson said he is excited for this season and believes the Warriors can contend for a championship, but knows he needs to take a step forward to do that.
“I always thought people already do know who I am,” Thompson said with a laugh. “I want to be great. That comes with pressure. It comes with eyes on you. In year four, I’m looking to take a huge leap like I did last year.”
Thompson said he has lost five pounds since last season, getting down to 215 pounds, and has more energy. It helps that with Team USA he isn’t relied on to play heavy minutes.
“I’m 24. I’m young. I shouldn’t be tired,” Thompson said. “I’m not playing 40 minutes. I’m playing 15 minutes, 20 minutes. It’s even better than working out at home. I would never get this competition working at home. And it’s a different style of basketball so I’ll be learning somethings I can add to my game. I’ll be in great shape when I come into camp and be ready to go.
The Warriors were in the Kevin Love discussion for much of the offseason. Many Golden State fans didn’t want the team to trade Thompson in a package for Love and the Warriors, holding him in high regard, did not. However, that means the pressure is on Thompson to step up and be an All-Star caliber player in the Western Conference.