The Warriors don't have anyone playing in this year's Olympic Games (though Bay Area basketball fans are hearing a familiar voice on the basketball telecasts in play-by-play man Bob Fitzgerald, who is calling the action from London alongside 76ers Head Coach Doug Collins), but they do have plenty of players with national team experience on their roster—including two former Olympians in Andrew Bogut and Richard Jefferson. With the 2012 Games now underway, we thought we take a look at the Warriors who have represented their country in some way, shape or form.
In reverse chronological order:
KLAY THOMPSON - USA
Notable experience: 2012 USA Select Team, 2009 U-19 World Championship
The Warriors have had a national representative as recently as a couple of weeks ago, when Klay Thompson donned the Red, White and Blue on a practice jersey in Las Vegas to help prepare Team USA for its upcoming Olympic slate. Thompson, who opened eyes during a First Team All-Rookie campaign in 2011-12, caught the eye of several stars in his Sin City stint. Here's a sampling of what some of the NBA's elite had to say about Klay to Warriors.com's own Laurence Scott:
Kobe Bryant: "I like Klay a lot. He's a fine young player. I hope he continues to work and continues to improve. He has a bright future."
Kevin Durant: "For a guy like Klay, (practicing with Team USA) is really going to help him … When he goes back to the Warriors, he's going to be a much different player: more confident, with a little bit more experience under his belt."
Deron Williams: "I like Klay's game a lot. He can shoot the crap out of the ball and knows how to play the game. He knows how to pass. I think him and Steph (Curry) can be a dangerous 1-2 combo."
Russell Westbrook: "Plain and simple, he can shoot the ball well. Klay can do a lot of other things, but in the Olympic Games, he can create problems shooting the basketball."
Kevin Love: "He's the type of guy that, through the year, progressively got better. He's going to be a guy that's going to continue to have success, especially in the system that Golden State has and having a coach like Mark Jackson. At his size, he's going to be very effective for years to come."
Thompson said that he felt like his game improved even after just four practices against Team USA and demonstrated as much by averaging 20.5 points, 6.0 rebounds and 4.5 assists in two games with the Warriors' Summer League squad. After leading all rookies in three-point percentage and three-pointers made, Thompson hit 71.4 percent (10-of-14) from downtown this summer following his work with Team USA.
When all was said and done in Vegas, Thompson laid out some lofty career goals: "You want to win an NBA championship as well as an Olympic gold medal. Those two things are the ultimate accomplishments as an athlete."
His experience with the Select Team wasn't his first with Team USA; Thompson was a member of the 2009 U-19 World Championship squad that captured gold in New Zealand, where he averaged 7.8 points and 4.4 rebounds in nine games while sinking 51.6 percent of his threes (16-of-31). Also of note: Thompson was teammates with Stephen Curry's brother, Seth.
With Thompson on Team USA's radar, it wouldn't be unrealistic for the Washington State alum to work his way onto the national team in time for the 2016 Olympics, a situation that four members of the 2008 Select Team find themselves in this year (Kevin Durant, Andre Iguodala, Kevin Love and Russell Westbrook).
STEPHEN CURRY – USA
Notable experience: 2010 FIBA World Championship (in Turkey)
Thompson isn't the only young Warrior with experience in the USA program. Two years ago, Stephen Curry was a member of the 2010 FIBA World Championship team that won gold in Turkey. If not for ankle injuries that plagued his 2011-12 campaign, Curry might very well have shared a gym with Thompson in Las Vegas this year and been in the mix for a spot on the 2012 Olympic squad. Five of his teammates from 2010 (Durant, Westbrook, Iguodala, Love and Tyson Chander) will represent the country in London, while Rudy Gay was in the running as well. Derrick Rose and Eric Gordon surely would have been considered, too, if not for injuries of their own suffered last season.
In Turkey, Curry averaged 4.6 points and 2.1 assists, playing a little more than 10 minutes per game in eight contests for a team that surprised many by cruising to the gold medal with a perfect 9-0 mark. Coming off a rookie season in which he finished as runner-up for the 2009-10 NBA Rookie of the Year Award, Curry hit 45.2 percent (14-of-31) of his shots for Team USA, including 36.8 percent (7-of-19) from distance.
Curry's best game came in a 92-57 triumph over Tunisia, when he scored 13 points (including three threes) in 15 minutes.
DAVID LEE – USA
Notable experience: 2010 FIBA World Championship practices, 2007-08 USA Select Team
Curry had hoped he would have a Warrior teammate at the 2010 FIBA World Championship, but David Lee—acquired by Golden State from New York that offseason—injured in right middle finger during a USA Basketball practice in July 2010, forcing him to withdraw from contention for the team that went on to win gold in Turkey.
Lee first attracted the attention of USA basketball as a member of the USA Select Team that helped prepare the “Redeem Team” prior to their quest for gold at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. As one of only four players to average at least 16 points and nine rebounds in each of the last four seasons (Dwight Howard, Pau Gasol, Al Jefferson), it’s not out of the question that Lee gets another opportunity to represent his country in the future.
HARRISON BARNES – USA
Notable experience: 2010 USA Junior Select National Team at the Nike Hoop Summit
Though not yet a member of the Warriors in 2010, Harrison Barnes represented the United States in the annual clash between the USA Junior Select National Team—comprised of high school seniors—and the World Select Team at the Nike Hoop Summit in Portland.
Enes Kanter's 34-point, 13-rebound performance helped the World squad to a 12-point lead entering the fourth quarter, but Barnes—along with the likes of Jared Sullinger, Kyrie Irving and Terrence Jones—helped the USA mount a comeback in the final frame and escape with a four-point victory.
Barnes finished with a team-high 27 points (9-of-17 FG, 4-of-8 3FG) to go with seven rebounds in 29 minutes, displaying the abilities that made him a top recruit out of high school and, eventually, the seventh overall pick of the 2012 NBA Draft.
ANDRIS BIEDRINS – LATVIA
Notable experience: EuroBasket 2009 (in Poland), EuroBasket 2007 (Spain)
The longest tenured Warrior is also one of just two players with national team experience outside of the United States (Andrew Bogut is the other). Andris Biedrins has competed in several tournaments with Latvia over the last decade.
Most recently, Biedrins averaged 7.3 points and 11.7 rebounds in three games at EuroBasket 2009 in Poland, including a 20-rebound performance against France. Prior to that, Biedrins averaged 15.0 points and 10.0 rebounds in three games in EuroBasket 2007 in Spain, which included a 14-point, 18-rebound effort vs. Portugal.
Before appearing in major competitions for Latvia, Biedrins had a breakout performance at the 2004 U-18 European Championship, posting averages of 21.8 points, 14.4 rebounds, 4.4 blocks and 3.8 steals.
His national team experience dates back even further than that, all the way to the 2002 Euro Junior Championship (6.6 points, 7.3 rebounds) and the 2001 Euro Cade Championship (16.3 points, 8.5 rebounds). Unfortunately, Biedrins' time with the Latvian national team does not date back to their sole Olympic berth in 1936, which was played on outdoor courts in Berlin.
ANDREW BOGUT – AUSTRALIA
Notable experience: 2008 Olympics (China), 2008 FIBA Diamond Ball (China), 2006 FIBA World Championship (Japan), 2004 Olympics (Greece), 2004 FIBA Diamond Ball (Serbia)
The Warriors' new center is the only current member of the team to have played in two Olympic competitions, and had it not been for the fractured left ankle that caused him to miss the majority of 2011-12, Andrew Bogut would no doubt represent the Aussies for a third time this year.
In six games in Beijing, Bogut averaged 12.7 points and 3.8 rebounds, shooting 59.6 percent from the field and even stepping back to hit 5-of-8 3-pointers. He had his worst game in a loss to the USA, tallying just four points and two rebounds in 11 minutes.
Bogut posted better numbers in his previous Olympic Games in 2004 (13.7 points and 9.0 rebounds) and once again showed his international range, hitting 4-of-9 from distance (also shot 59.3 percent from the field). His battle vs. the States went slightly better than the second time around as he recorded 11 points and eight rebounds, but the Boomers still lost by 10 (better, though, than the 31-point loss in 2008).
All told, in 12 Olympic contests, Bogut has averaged 13.2 points and 6.4 rebounds—while hitting 52.9 percent of his threes. Bogut, by the way, is 1-for-22 behind-the-arc in his NBA career.
The 7-footer has also represented Australia at the 2008 FIBA Diamond Ball (15.0 points, 7.0 rebounds), the 2006 FIBA World Championship (12.8 points, 6.2 rebounds) and the 2004 FIBA Diamond Ball (10.7 points, 3.0 rebounds) competitions after bursting on to the scene at the 2003 World Championship, where he averaged 26.2 points and 17.0 rebounds, including three games with 30-plus points and three with 20-plus rebounds.
BRANDON RUSH – USA
Notable experience: 2005 USA Junior Select National Team at the Nike Hoop Summit
Just as Harrison Barnes did in 2010, current restricted free agent Brandon Rush represented the USA Junior Select National Team at the Nike Hoop Summit in 2005. Team USA won the game, 106-98, but Rush saw just eight minutes of playing time, scoring two points. Similar to his role in the first half of last season, Rush backed up former Warrior Monta Ellis, who had 13 points.
RICHARD JEFFERSON – USA
Notable experience: 2004 Olympics (Greece), 2003 Tournament of the Americas (Puerto Rica)
The 2004 version of Team USA is not the most fondly remembered, as the team struggled to a disappointing 5-3 record in Athens. Nonetheless, Richard Jefferson, who was a 24-year-old starter on the team, is the only Warrior with an Olympic medal to his name, averaging 6.8 points and 2.8 rebounds en route to earning bronze.
Jefferson's best game came in a narrow loss to Lithuania, which saw him score 20 points and shoot 6-of-8 from the field. Against Bogut and the Aussies, however, RJ was held to two points in 16 minutes.
Though Jefferson and the 2004 Olympians were unable to take home the gold medal, he did win one at the 2003 Tournament of the Americas (which qualified the Americans for the Olympics), averaging 3.7 points off the bench for the 10-0 squad.
DON NELSON – USA
Notable experience: 1994 FIBA World Championship (Canada)
On the heels of a dominant performance by the '92 Dream Team, Team USA ran the table at the 1994 FIBA World Championship, doing so with then-Warriors Head Coach Don Nelson at the helm. Fresh off a 50-32 record and playoff appearance with Golden State, Nelson led Team USA to an 8-0 record with an average margin of victory of 34.8.
Nellie, who has coached the Warriors in each of their last five postseason appearances, led a staff consisting of Don Chaney (Detroit Pistons), Pete Gillen (Providence College) and Rick Majerus (Utah), along with then-Warriors trainer Tom Abdenour. Another Warrior, Tim Hardaway, was originally selected to play for the Dream Team II, but missed the Games with a torn ligament in his knee.
CHRIS MULLIN – USA
Notable experience: 1992 Olympics (Spain), 1992 Tournament of the Americas (USA), 1984 Olympics (USA)
The Warriors retired the No. 17 jersey of Chris Mullin in March, recognizing a Hall of Fame career that included a spot on the famed Dream Team at the 1992 Olympics. Mullin is the only Warriors player to have represented Team USA in the Olympics while calling Golden State his NBA home.
In eight games (two starts) in Barcelona, Mullin averaged 12.9 points (fourth best on the team) on 61.9 percent from the field and a team-high 53.8 percent from downtown, while also dishing out 3.6 assists. His best scoring game for a team that beat the opposition by an average of 43.8 points was a 21-point output against Puerto Rico.
In the 1992 Tournament of the Americas that preceded the Olympics, Mullin averaged 14.3 points on an equally impressive shooting performance, hitting 63.3 percent from the field and 50.0 percent from 3-point land.
Part of the reason Mullin had such success at the Olympics may have been the fact that he'd already done it before, winning his first gold in the 1984 Games in Los Angeles back when professionals were not allowed to play in the Olympics.
JERRY WEST – USA
Notable experience: 1960 Olympics (Italy), 1959 Pan American Games
Finally, a short 52 years ago, Warriors executive Jerry West shared a backcourt with fellow future Hall of Famer Oscar Robertson at the 1960 Olympic Games, scoring 14.3 points in eight games for the gold-medal winning Americans.
The 1960 squad, coached by the legendary Pete Newell (who won an NCAA Championship with Cal in 1959), was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2010.
The year prior, West helped Team USA win gold at the 1959 Pan American Games in Chicago.
West spoke last year to Warriors broadcaster Tim Roye about his time as an Olympian:
"When I got up (on the medal stand) with Oscar Robertson, at that time only two people got up there to receive the gold medal. I wish people knew what that felt like for me. The emotion that was going through your body. The elation. The joy. Because I really felt for the first time, I had done something not for West Virginia, or my high school team, but we'd done something for the country. Every time I hear that national anthem I immediately zap back to that point in time … It was just so meaningful for me, and it made probably the greatest impression on me of anything that I was ever involved in—more than winning an NBA championship. (It was) the greatest thrill of my life.