Klay Thompson may not be starting for Team USA but make no mistake, he is a key cog. A career 41 percent three-point shooter, Thompson’s long range prowess will help Coach Krzyzewski’s offense to stretch the floor.
Equally, if not more important is the tenacity that he brings on defense. According to basketball-reference.com, Thompson posted a defensive rating of 106 last season, a career best. This came while guarding some of the league’s premier guards.
He is quickly expanding his game from being just a player with a good shot and despite putting more on his plate, Thompson is increasingly becoming a more efficient shooter and overall scorer. According to ESPN.com, his shooting efficiency rose from 50 percent to 53 percent, while his offensive rating jumped from 102 points per 100 possessions to 108 this season, per basketball-reference.com.
The fact that Thompson is able to sustain carrying such a heavy load on offense while exerting so much energy defensively, makes him an extremely valuable player to both the Warriors and Team USA. After playing a game-high 27 minutes against Puerto Rico – tied with Kyrie Irving and Puerto Rico’s J.J. Barea - His 21 minutes against Slovenia were the fourth-most on the team, and he played seven more minutes than starter and fellow splash brother Steph Curry. Thompson finished with 11 points on 4-7 shooting, including 3-5 from beyond the arc.