According to a report by Shams Charania of The Athletic, Team USA’s roster for the Tokyo Olympics (which were originally supposed to be held in the summer of 2020) is starting to take shape with Portland Trail Blazers superstar Damian Lillard and Golden State Warriors dynamic forward Draymond Green the first two Americans to commit to playing for Team USA in the upcoming Olympic Games.
Portland Trail Blazers’ Damian Lillard and Golden State Warriors’ Draymond Green are among the initial commitments to Team USA for the Tokyo Olympics this summer, sources tell me and @joevardon.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) June 15, 2021
Speculation about Lillard joining the team began as early as 2016, when he dropped out of consideration for the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, instead deciding to rehab a plantar fasciitis injury he dealt with the previous season.
In December 2020, Lillard mentioned he would not be playing in the Olympics if the Trail Blazers reached the 2021 NBA Finals.
However, Portland lost to the Denver Nuggets in the first round of the 2021 NBA Playoffs, freeing Lillard’s schedule and making his decision a bit easier. Lillard, who just wrapped up his ninth season in the league, averaged 28.8 points in the 2020-21 season and finished seventh in NBA MVP voting.
Green, unlike Lillard, was a part of the gold medal-winning squad in 2016. However, Green only played sparingly, averaging 1.9 points, 2.1 rebounds, and 1.2 assists in eight games.
That being said, due to speculation that many players will abstain from joining Team USA (instead opting to rest and rehab after the shortened COVID-19 season), many expect Green to have a much larger role in 2020.
Per Charania’s report, Team USA should be putting the finishing touches on their roster for the Tokyo Olympics in late June, as training camp begins on July 7.
Boston Celtics star Jayson Tatum is also expected to join Team USA’s ranks, after a sprained ankle knocked him out of the 2019 FIBA World Cup (a tournament in which Team USA finished with a disappointing seventh-place finish.