Team USA suffered from a relative lack of star power at the FIBA World Cup, where it finished seventh this summer. The roster included only two 2019 All-Stars, and that was a major factor in the worst finish an American team has ever had on the international stage with NBA players. Fortunately, it is starting to seem like the same problem won’t persist into the 2020 Olympics.
Draymond Green revealed on a recent CNBC interview that he hopes to play for Team USA in Japan next summer. Green, who played for Team USA in 2016, may not be the only Golden State Warrior to suit up. According to Marc Stein of the New York Times, Stephen Curry is expected to join him at the Olympics next year.
Curry did not play for Team USA in 2016, but has been a part of USA Basketball in the past. He notably played for two separate World Cup rosters in 2010 and 2014, winning both tournaments for Team USA. He was not selected for the 2012 Olympic roster, however, and elected not to play in 2016 after a grueling 73-9 regular season and consecutive seven-game series to end the postseason.
Curry has not publicly commented on his interest in playing in 2020, and that has been the stance that most of the NBA‘s best players have taken. LeBron James told The Athletic that playing in 2020 is a possibility, but he would not make a firm commitment. Kevin Durant has not given any indication as of yet, but given his health situation at the moment, suiting up appears unlikely. Kawhi Leonard has never played for Team USA in a major tournament, and his history suggests that a public announcement is unlikely.
The overall belief surrounding Team USA is that next summer’s roster will be significantly better than this year’s, especially after the embarrassment of finishing in seventh. But none of the NBA’s best players have made a hard commitment yet, and it may take such a commitment from a player of that caliber to sway other stars on the fence.
Curry playing in the Olympics would be meaningful. It would help convince others to follow his lead and hopefully assure Team USA a gold medal. This report is encouraging, but after all of the dropouts Team USA experienced this summer, nothing should be considered finished until players reveal their decisions themselves.