Will Steph Curry or Klay Thompson Benefit More from Team USA Experience?

D.J. Foster@@fosterdjContributor ISeptember 12, 2014

December 3, 2013; Oakland, CA, USA; Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry (30, left) and shooting guard Klay Thompson (11) celebrate during the fourth quarter against the Toronto Raptors at Oracle Arena. The Warriors defeated the Raptors 112-103. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Just about every player on Team USA's roster in the FIBA World Cup stands to benefit from being there. 

The experience of playing next to other elite talents and working with world-class coaches can only really be viewed as beneficial as these players prepare for the NBA season.

Golden State Warriors guards Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson are certainly no exception. They've been a big part of what Team USA has done in this setting, earning lots of minutes and providing valuable perimeter scoring.

Here's Jim Cavan of Bleacher Report:

Of all the NBA teams that could use one more mini-leap from their two best players to launch themselves squarely into the championship conversation, the Golden State Warriors—with Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson—fit the bill best.

Luckily for them, the two will have three full weeks of FIBA Basketball World Cup experience at their backs heading into training camp.

Even though the Splash Brothers will both benefit from all the time invested this offseason, only one player really needed this experience.

OAKLAND, CA - MAY 1: Stephen Curry #30 and Klay Thompson #11 of the Golden State Warriors in a game against the Los Angeles Clippers in Game Six of the Western Conference Quarterfinals during the 2014 NBA Playoffs at Oracle Arena on May 1, 2014 in Oakland
Rocky Widner/Getty Images

Curry is already an established star in the league, and you have to understand how difficult this offseason must have been for his backcourt partner.

Until Kevin Love was finally dealt to the Cleveland Cavaliers, Thompson was under constant scrutiny. Should the Warriors be willing to deal him? Was he worth sacrificing for Love? Will he demand too much money in the offseason? Is he overrated?

Basically, the focus and narrative was on how Thompson wasn't worth the value Golden State had placed on him. That's tough.

But with strong performances in Spain, Thompson has been able to get back to basketball and show the world why he's one of the best young shooting guards in the game. 

Here's what Thompson told Bay Area News Group's Marcus Thompson II:

In year four, I'm looking to take a huge leap like I did last year. ...

... If you want to be a championship player, you have to play both ends. We've got some great players in this league who are two-way players.Kobe Bryant. LeBron. Paul George. Kawhi Leonard. I'd love to be known as a guy who gets you 20 points and locks down the best offensive player.

Thompson has displayed a lot of those abilities on both sides of the ball, and that's what makes him maybe even more valuable to the Warriors than he would be for other teams around the league.

Here's Zach Buckley of Bleacher Report:

But Thompson is still Bay Area-based for a reason. For this franchise, and more importantly for its face, his value is hard to overstate.

As an offensive safety valve and defensive protection, Thompson makes life easier for Curry. The Warriors' road to relevance starts with their superstar floor general, so anything that improves his effectiveness makes Golden State's championship chances that much stronger.

It's been critical for Thompson to assert himself on a team that certainly isn't hard up for scoring. Thompson has been aggressive when looking for his own shot, showing no hesitation and letting his pretty jumper fly.

The confidence gained from quality performances playing against and with the world's best players can't be duplicated elsewhere. No matter how many jumpers Thompson hit in the gym on his own this offseason, it wouldn't compare.

BARCELONA, SPAIN - SEPTEMBER 09:  Klay Thompson #5 of the USA Basketball Men's National Team runs with the ball against Klemen Prepelic #7 of the Slovenia Basketball Men's National Team during 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup quarter-final match between Slo
David Ramos/Getty Images

Curry also understands the value of this experience. 

In an interview with LetsGoWarriors.com's' Ryan Brown, Curry had this to say:

Really it’s nothing specific, when you are around great talent great minds you are going to get better just by surrounding yourself with those kinds of people. There are so many great minds and basketball IQ’s that you are going to become a better player and a better presence by being here. Everyone is going to get better in some shape or form and they can tell you better once we get back what it exactly was.

Again, Curry should improve from this experience as well. He's still young, and he still has a higher level to hit, as scary as that is to imagine.

But Thompson is seemingly further away from his ceiling. As of right now, he's essentially a three-and-D guy with a little bit of a post game. What's to separate Thompson from, say, Portland Trail Blazers guard Wesley Matthews? 

Entering a potential contract year, Thompson has to show he can do more than just satisfy a particular role, even if he does it wonderfully. He'll have to score much more efficiently at the rim, he'll have to create for himself and he'll need to rebound.

There's just more room for growth with Thompson than there is with Curry, and Thompson's experience in the FIBA World Cup couldn't have come at a better time. 


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