Klay Thompson of the Golden State Warriors and DeMar DeRozan of the Toronto Raptors are the latest addition to players who have committed to suit up for Team USA in the men’s basketball event at the Rio 2016 Olympics that will be held from Aug. 5 to 22 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Thompson, who had just finished the NBA Finals with the Warriors losing their title retention bid to the Cleveland Cavaliers, brings an additional talented player to its roster which is already taking shape with Kyle Lowry, Jimmy Butler, Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Durant, Paul George, DeMarcus Cousins, Draymond Green and DeAndre Jordan.
Thompson is sure to fire up Team USA with his beyond the arc shooting and assists skills that will for sure be a thing to watch in this year’s summer Olympics. DeRozan, on the other hand, brings in a solid wingman to the team as they are hoping to adopt a brand of small-ball headed into international play.
The team will be coached by Mike Krzyzewski of Duke University, with assistant coaches Jim Boeheim (Syracuse), Tom Thibodeau (Minnesota Timberwolves), and Monty Williams (Oklahoma City Thunder).
Kawhi Leonard of the San Antonio Spurs has officially withdrawn his name from the team but did not clearly state his reasons for not being able to suit up for Team USA. In a statement released by Leonard via the Spurs, he noted that it was a difficult decision to make and he hopes that he would be given another chance in the future to represent the country.
“This was a very difficult decision. It’s an honor to have been considered for the team and I hope that in the future I will have the chance to represent my country by playing for USA Basketball,” Leonard stated.
Leonard, the 2015 and 2016 Defensive Player of the Year, was a 2016 All-NBA First Team selection. In his first All-Star season, the fifth-year forward averaged a career-high 21.2 points to go along with 6.8 rebounds, 2.6 assists, and 1.78 steals in 33.1 minutes while shooting .506 (551-1,090) from the floor, a personal-best .443 (129-291) from beyond the arc and .874 (292-334) from the free throw.
With things shaping up with the addition of Thompson and DeRozan, Team USA hopes for two more big men to give their commitment to the team as they try to defend their crown in the coming Olympics in Brazil that has been marred by controversies and health issues.
Photo Courtesy: Keith Allison/Flickr