Team USA claimed the gold medal in the Rio Olympics 2016 but it did not come easy. While players like Carmelo Anthony and Kevin Durant boosted the team to victory, everyone involved has admitted that more experience and more participation from big NBA stars is needed.
“We can’t go back again with 10 new players. That’s not going to happen,” said USAB chairman Jerry Colangelo. According to ESPN, he spoke about the team’s inexperience and how they plan to avoid the same situation when the Tokyo Olympics comes around in 2020.
The chairman pointed out that having an inexperienced team, with some playing for the national team for the first time, was very difficult. He breathed a sigh of relief and not complacency, despite the fact that they managed to emerge victorious. He credited the presence of Mike Krzyzewski, Kevin Durant and Carmelo Anthony as the saving grace for Team USA.
Carmelo Anthony in particular, earned praises from Colangelo and teammate Paul George. “We don’t have enough time to talk about how much he has meant to our program,” said Colangelo. “Melo’s for sure the leader. He’s the voice of this team,” added George.
Kevin Durant also gained a lot of credit for the work he did in the Olympics. Team USA thrashed Serbia with a final score of 96-66. However, what looks good on paper is not always as easy as it looks. According to the New York Times, Serbia kept up with USA until Kevin Durant exploded with 24 points in the first half.
Colangelo emphasized the need to have more of the experienced pros in the Olympic team. Notably absent in Rio were some of the biggest names in NBA including LeBron James, Steph Curry, Anthony Davis, Blake Griffin and James Harden.
As for the players who decided to participate in the Olympics, Colangelo called their actions “unselfish” and commended both their performance and attitude. However, with Carmelo Anthony and coach Krzyzewski stepping away from the next Olympics, it remains to be seen how many stars will join incoming coach Gregg Popovich once Tokyo 2020 comes around.