By Drew Packham, for NBA.com
Klay Thompson wants to be great.
Not a starter. Not just good. Great.
The Warriors guard had a close-up view of greatness in Las Vegas as a member of the U.S. Select Team, and says the experience of helping Team USA prepare for the Olympics was an eye-opening experience.
“I had butterflies my first day, I’m not gonna lie,” Thompson said. “You see Kobe (Bryant), you see that starting lineup when you go out there and you can’t hide, because everyone can expose you.”
Thompson, who finished sixth in Rookie of the Year voting last season after averaging 12.5 points, talked repeatedly Saturday about what the “best guards” do (“The best guards are efficient” … “The great twos are good at the pick and roll”) and says watching “the greats” helped prepare him for his sophomore campaign.
“The thing I take from that is seeing how the great ones prepare,” said Thompson, who is averaging 20.5 points through two Summer League games. “I just saw how serious they take the game. Even in practice, they’re all super competitive. They’re high-fiving each other, working so hard. And if they do it, everyone else should do it.”
Warriors assistant Pete Myers — who is handling the coaching duties in Las Vegas — says he saw first-hand the desire Thompson has to take his game to the next level.
“What we’re seeing out here is work paying off,” Myers said of Thompson, who is 10-for-14 from 3-point land in the Warriors’ two wins. “Klay can shoot, we all know that, but this is a guy I want to go to war with, because he wants to great and will do what it takes to get there.”