Following USA Basketball’s seventh-place finish at the 2019 FIBA World Cup, all eyes turn to next summer. The 2020 Olympics represent an opportunity for the United States to bounce back following a subpar performance in China, which won’t be a cakewalk, as the rest of the world is now aware that the Americans are beatable.
Something that bodes very well for Team USA is that its player pool is still more talented than that of everyone else, and on Wednesday we learned that two of the nation’s best plan to take the floor in red, white and blue next summer. In an interview with Rachel Nichols of ESPN, Golden State Warriors star Steph Curry said that he hopes to play for Team USA next year.
“That is the plan, for sure,” Curry said. “You know, obviously knock on wood, you don’t want any injuries or things like that to interfere.”
Curry isn’t the only standout guard in this situation. Damian Lillard told news.com.au that he, too, plans on playing in Tokyo.
The United States lacked backcourt depth and floor spacing during the World Cup and, obviously, adding Curry and Lillard to the mix immediately improves both things. It would also be really cool to see both of them take the floor on this stage, as neither have gotten the opportunity to suit up for an Olympic team in the past — both players used the summer of 2016 as a chance to rehab injuries, keeping them from playing for the gold medal-winning side in Rio. As for 2012 in London, Lillard had just been drafted, while Curry did not make the team.
As we saw this summer, plenty of players opted out of taking the floor at the World Cup and cited their desire to be 100 percent healthy and rested for the upcoming season. It stands to reason that as long as Curry are Lillard are in a good place physically next summer, they’ll be on a team with a number of NBA superstars who decided to stay home and rest up over the last few months.