Draymond Green, Damian Lillard Poised To Lead Team USA
The summer Olympics are right around the corner, and the United States is seemingly poised to accomplish great things, particularly in basketball with its latest two commits. Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard and Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green have committed to the United States basketball team and will compete in the Tokyo Olympics, according to The Athletic‘s Shams Charania and Joe Vardon.
These players are the first known potential players for the summer and set a good veteran foundation. With the rest of the roster expected to be finalized by late June, training camp for Team USA is set to start in July in Las Vegas with San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich. The group stage of the Olympics tournament will be held from July 25 to August 1, and the knockout stage will be from August 3 to August 7.
Green brings some needed experience and toughness, as he was a part of the 2016 U.S. team that won gold in the 2016 Rio games. He is coming off another standout year defensively, as well as an underrated year on the offensive side of the ball. Green was named to the NBA’s All-Defensive First Team for the fourth time and was a finalist for the Defensive Player of the Year award. He finished the season averaging 7.0 points, 8.9 assists, 7.1 rebounds and 1.7 steals per game. His 8.9 assists per game ranked third in the league, and his high IQ and playmaking skills will make everyone’s life easier in Tokyo. Although his Warriors (39–33) missed the playoffs after losing to the Lakers and Grizzlies in the play-in games, Green should be extra motivated to have a strong showing.
Lillard has never officially competed for U.S. basketball but expressed his interest in doing so earlier this season. He’ll fit like a glove next to Green, who is used to playing with a similar player in Stephen Curry. Lillard is coming off yet another stellar season where he averaged 28.8 points, 4.2 rebounds and 7.5 assists to lead Portland (42–30) to the No. 6 seed. His team was bounced out of the first round of the playoffs by the Denver Nuggets in six games.