As of right now, all signs are pointing toward the 2020 Tokyo Olympics taking place as planned after being postponed a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Obviously a lot can change between now and then, but with vaccines continuously becoming more available to the masses, the outlook for the Olympic Games this summer is looking very bright.
With that being said, if the Olympics do happen, USA Basketball has a great shot at winning its fourth straight gold medal if the game’s top stars choose to compete. In February 2020, USA Basketball announced 44 finalists who would be given a shot at making the Olympic roster, and Thursday morning 15 players were added to that list. Two players dropped from consideration, however, during that time span: Klay Thompson, who is recovering from a torn Achilles he suffered weeks before the 2020-21 season started, and Marcus Smart. That brings the total to 57 players for Jerry Colangelo, the managing director of Team USA’s basketball team, to choose from. The roster must eventually be trimmed down to 12 players.
“With the postponement of the Tokyo Olympics from 2020 to 2021, it’s important that we continue to remain flexible and consider all players who can contribute to our efforts to field the best USA team possible,” Colangelo said in a statement released by USA Basketball. “These additions we are announcing today will help ensure that we are doing that. Having a larger player pool than what we normally have is critical because of all of the uncertainties we face about availability. But for USA Basketball to receive the commitment of so many outstanding players remains an indicator of the great honor of representing your country means to these men.”
The 15 added players includes many young new faces who have never played for Team USA before, including Zion Williamson and Trae Young:
- Jarrett Allen, C, Cleveland Cavaliers
- Eric Gordon, G, Houston Rockets
- Jerami Grant, F, Detroit Pistons
- Blake Griffin, F, Brooklyn Nets
- Jrue Holiday, G, Milwaukee Bucks
- DeAndre Jordan, C, Brooklyn Nets
- Zach LaVine, F, Chicago Bulls
- Julius Randle, F, New York Knicks
- Duncan Robinson, F, Miami Heat
- Mitchell Robinson, C, New York Knicks
- Fred VanVleet, G, Toronto Raptors
- John Wall, G, Houston Rockets
- Zion Williamson, F, New Orleans Pelicans
- Christian Wood, C, Houston Rockets
- Trae Young, G, Atlanta Hawks
These 15 players will be joining the previous 42 names already announced, which includes players who have helped Team USA win gold in the past.
The national team will be led by San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, while Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr, former Atlanta Hawks coach Lloyd Pierce and Villanova University coach Jay Wright will be assistant coaches. Popovich is taking over for Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski, who previously led Team USA to each of its last three gold medals.
The 2020 Tokyo Olympics are set to take place July 23 through Aug. 8, one year after its original start date. The Tokyo Olympics Organizing Committee is still deciding whether or not to allow fans from outside the country to attend the summer games as the country of Japan tries to pull off the giant spectacle that is the Olympics with health and safety standards in mind.
Courtesy: CBS Sports