Jerry Colangelo clearly does not want to go through what he went through for the FIBA World Cup this summer for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. After most of the top players backed out competing in the World Cup last summer, which culminated in a poor 7th-place finish by a roster of mostly young, inexperienced players, the managing director of USA Basketball wants the selection process for the upcoming Olympics to be way more straightforward than it was for the World Cup.
Instead of holding tryouts for the 12 roster spots on the Olympic team, Colangelo and national team head coach Gregg Popovich will instead just pick the 12 players who will make up the Olympic roster. Colangelo made the announcement on SiriusXM NBA Radio Wednesday morning with Frank Isola and Amin Elhassan.
"We took the players that we felt had equity, in other words they had played for us in previous competitions, and we added some players," Colaneglo said. "Basically they're all there because they were asked a simple question, 'are you in or are you out?' They all said 'we're in.' So we have a whole group of 44 who all want to play. That's how I look at it. Pop [Gregg Popovich] and I are going to not have a tryout, we're not going through that again. We're just going to pick 12 players."
Earlier this month Team USA announced the LeBron James and Stephen Curry, and while it may seem like an unorthodox way to pick and Olympic team, Colangelo is clearly still very upset over how players backed out of the FIBA World Cup after already committing to it. At least this way he has a commitment from each player listed as finalists, so that should be less of an issue. However, players can always change their mind, as Colangelo has already seen., and according to Colangelo all those players on the list have already made a commitment to playing in the summer Olympics if they're chosen. The list is headlined by
Colangelo also shared a bit about how the team will be chosen, which doesn't entail just picking the 12 best players in the league.
"You never know how these things are going to play out. We're not going to necessarily -- I keep saying this, and I've been consistent -- you don't take the 12 best players necessarily. You take the best 12 that make the best team."
Chemistry is important when building an Olympic team, but it will be interesting to see if there will be any significant snubs when the team is announced, which Colangelo said will be the first week of June.