Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, the Splash Brothers, are currently fighting for a spot on the USA Basketball Men’s National Team roster that will compete in the 2014 FIBA World Cup of Basketball. Training camp for the team started on Monday in Las Vegas.
Both Golden State Warriors’ guards have experience with Team USA. In terms of Curry’s experience with USA Basketball, he won gold medals with the US Men’s National Team that won the 2010 FIBA World Championship and with the USA U19 World Championship Team that won the 2007 Global Games. He also won a silver medal in the 2007 FIBA U19 World Championship. He was named a member of the 2014-16 USA Men’s National Team in January.
As for Thompson’s experience with USA Basketball, he was a member of the 2012 USA Basketball Select Team that practiced against the 2012 U.S. Men’s Olympic Team, was a mamber of the 2013 USA Men’s National Team mini-camp roster that participated in the 2013 USA Basketball Showcase, and was named a member of the 2014-16 USA Men’s National Team in January.
Curry is a near lock to make the U.S. Men’s National Team roster this summer, according to John Schuhmann of NBA.com.
How I see the USA roster breaking down as camp begins today (locks are ones w/ USA experience + PG): pic.twitter.com/dkwQvPKV6c
— John Schuhmann (@johnschuhmann) July 28, 2014
After day one of training camp, Curry appears to be even more of a lock to make the roster. In fact, Curry could play a much more significant role this time around than he did with the 2010 team. In 2010, Curry averaged just 4.6 points and 2.1 assists per game. This summer, Curry will most likely be called upon to play both point guard and shooting guard, which could mean more minutes and more responsibilities.
During the first day of training camp, Curry actually played in the intra-squad scrimmage as primarily a shooting guard. Kyrie Irving and John Wall were the point guards when he was in the game. According to Schuhmann’s game notes from day one, Curry doesn’t mind if he has to play at both the point guard and shooting guard positions.
“I play both,” he said. “I’m obviously better equipped [than the others] to play the two, but I can push in transition and initiate the offense if I need to. I got to be able to do both and guard both positions as well.”
Curry seemed genuinely excited to be a part of Team USA not just because of the chance to represent his country but also because of the experience he’ll gain. Here’s what he said after practice on Monday:
“It’s a great day. This is something you look forward to all summer. (It’s) the best players in the world preparing to represent our country. It was exciting. A little rusty at first, but we got into the flow of it and had fun competing. The best part of this week is we’re all trying to make the team and figure out how we’re going to play together. But we compete along the way and make each other better, so it’s fun.”
Thompson has a little more of an uphill battle in order to make the final roster. Thompson spoke with Marc Spears of Yahoo! Sports before training camp started about his chances to make the team:
“I’m not going to say I’m going to make the team because you just never know,” Thompson said. “There are so many great players. You never know. But hopefully I can prove my worth this week.”
Thompson could certainly provide Team USA with another three-point shooter and perimeter defender. Thompson will probably have to compete with DeMar DeRozan and Bradley Beal for a roster spot though. Given Curry’s ability to play shooting guard, it’s possible that Jerry Colangelo and Mike Krzyzewski will decide to include an extra point guard on the roster. What this means for Thompson is that he could possibly have to compete with DeRozan and Beal for just one shooting guard spot.
It appears as if Curry will make the final roster. It’s unclear if Thompson will though, but he will certainly get some great experience out of this training camp.
Whether or not both the Splash Brothers make the final roster, fans will enjoy watching Curry and Thompson represent their country and the Warriors.