Team USA’s 2020 Olympic roster already looks to be not only significantly stronger than its 2019 World Cup counterpart, but also far more cohesive. Two Golden State Warriors superstars had already said that they would play in Tokyo. Stephen Curry, who has yet to play in the Olympics, revealed that he plans to do so earlier this week, while Draymond Green, an Olympian in 2016, did the same. Now Team USA can add another Warrior to the “yes” pile.
Klay Thompson told Marcus Thompson of The Athletic that he, too, plans to suit up for the Olympics. “I would love to play (for) Team USA,” Thompson said. “That is the plan. I would love to be on the Olympic team.” Thompson played alongside Green and former Warriors teammate Kevin Durant on the gold medal-winning 2016 Olympic team. He also played alongside Curry at the 2014 FIBA World Cup, though he was a bench player while Curry started.
There is, of course, one major caveat where Thompson is concerned. The superstar guard tore his ACL in the NBA Finals. He is expected to return to the floor in February, giving him another six months before the Olympics to return to full strength, but as badly as he’d like to represent his country, caution will likely be a priority.
If Thompson suffers a setback during his recovery, or another injury upon his return, there is a good chance that he ultimately sits out the Olympics to be safe. That was the choice many American stars made for the World Cup, and they did so with less severe injuries.
Their absences may have cost Team USA the gold medal, and it affected Thompson in making his decision. “It was hard to watch us lose,” Thompson said. “Those guys, they sacrificed their summers for that. I’m not going to dog them for losing, though. The world is good.”
If Thompson can play, though, Team USA should be at a major advantage. With Warriors coach Steve Kerr on Gregg Popovich’s staff and Curry and Green likely on the roster as well, Team USA could match some of the cohesion and chemistry that makes so many of the world’s best teams great. Team USA’s inability to match the continuity on other rosters has been its downfall in several international competitions, but bringing the entire core of one of the best teams in the NBA to Tokyo would be an excellent way of mitigating that.