When Paul George suffered that god-awful injury during a scrimmage prior to the FIBA World Cup last summer, many wondered whether NBA stars would rethink their participation in future Team USA competitions. Most of those fears have been quelled since George himself has indicated he’d like to play in the Olympic games in Rio de Janeiro next summer (complete with the blessing of Pacers president Larry Bird).
Blake Griffin is also among a star-studded list of invitees to the Team USA minicamp in Las Vegas next month that will reportedly include a quartet of players from the 2015 NBA Champion Golden State Warriors. Due to injuries, Griffin was unable to participate in both the 2012 London Olympics and the FIBA World Cup of Basketball in Spain last summer.
The four Warriors invited to the camp include returnees Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, who were instrumental for the squad that took gold at the FIBA World Cup last summer, and newcomers Harrison Barnes and Draymond Green. All told, USA Basketball invited 34 players to the camp, most of whom have previous Men’s National Team experience. Via ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne:
“Although USAB has scheduled two days of noncontact workouts and an intrasquad scrimmage on Aug. 13 that will better resemble an All-Star Game, Colangelo has informed the 34 players who were in the USAB player pool as of last September, as well as new invitees, that attendance at the Vegas minicamp is mandatory for any player who wants to be considered for the team that will play in the 2016 Olympics.”
Whether he’s ready or not, Carmelo Anthony has made clear his intention to participate in the camp despite his ongoing recovery from a knee surgery that sidelined him for good after the All-Star break. Other probable attendees will include James Harden (also a member of last summer’s gold medal team), Kevin Durant, Kevin Love, Mike Conley, Bradley Beal, John Wall, and Kawhi Leonard, among many others.
Despite George’s horrific injury last summer, competition for roster spots is expected to be fierce, as the list of 34 attendees will eventually be whittled down to 13 prior to the Rio games.