Warriors rookie SG Klay Thompson will be playing in Las Vegas this summer. But likely instead of breaking a sweat against NBA upstarts and hopefuls, Thompson will spend a week honing his game against Team USA.
A league source confirmed Klay Thompson was indeed invited to play for Team USA’s select squad, which will help the men’s national team train for the Summer Games in London. Team USA is holding training camp from July 6-12 in Las Vegas, capped with an exhibition game against the Dominican Republic on July 12 at UNLV’s Thomas & Mack Center. Thompson reportedly will be joined by New York Knicks guard Jeremy Lin and 2012 Rookie of the Year Kyrie Irving on the Select team, which will practice against the players preparing for London.
The NBA Summer League starts on July 13 at UNLV. After an intense camp where Thompson figures to match up against Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade, James Harden, Russell Westbrook and Eric Gordon, you’ve got to believe the Warriors will hold Thompson out of summer league action. Thompson will be in attendance and will practice with the team. But general manager Bob Myers already shed some doubt on Thompson’s summer league prospects even before the season ended because Thompson logged so many minutes as a rookie.
Certainly, the experience he’ll get on the Select Team will dwarf anything he can get out of summer league. Thompson, who took over the starting shooting guard spot after the Warriors traded Monta Ellis, is projected to be the least-experienced player in the Warriors’ starting lineup next season. So the potential for growth from this special invitation figures to be exactly what Thompson needs. Thompson is still developing his ability to create off the dribble. He’s still grasping the variety of ways he can score and understanding what’s a good shot. He’s still learning the intricacies of defense.
“It’s going to be great for him,” Warriors coach Mark Jackson said. “A tremendous honor. The experience of going against the best every day will pay off.”