The US Olympic basketball team's roster has taken quite a number of hits this week, especially to its back court.
On Friday, both Russell Westbrook and James Harden withdrew themselves without giving specific reasons as to why they wouldn't be representing the US in Rio. These announcements came on the heels of a statement released by Steph Curry on Monday that stated he was pulling out due to "several factors, including recent ankle and knee injuries."
.@russwest44 @JHarden13 latest to say no to #Olympics in Rio— NBA.com (@NBAcom) June 11, 2016
MORE: https://t.co/yQyT4KhbXl pic.twitter.com/LSr2rR6Thl
Many media outlets speculate that athletes are deterred by the Zika virus in Brazil, but Boston Celtics point guard Isaiah Thomas appears to be unfazed. The All-Star threw his hat in the ring on Friday, announcing his desire to compete for Team USA on Twitter:
I wish I could get a chance to play on the USA team! Looking at the history of it I've never seen a small guard get selected 2 even try out— Isaiah Thomas (@Isaiah_Thomas) June 10, 2016
As the AP's Brian Mahoney points out, Team USA is very thin at the point guard position and they are considering the possibility of adding some help:
USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo isn't ruling out adding a point guard to his dwindling roster.
Days after Stephen Curry announced he wouldn't play, Westbrook and Harden pulled out Friday, further weakening a backcourt that was expected to be a strength.
"It puts more emphasis now on what was a real strong position for us," Colangelo said Saturday.
And with Chris Paul and John Wall already having been ruled out, the Americans are suddenly down to just Cleveland's Kyrie Irving — the MVP of the 2014 Basketball World Cup — Portland's Damian Lillard and Memphis' Mike Conley at point guard.
Colangelo said the Americans were "very interested in" Lillard, who was the last player cut before the tournament in Spain and then the final player added to the roster pool for Rio. Neither he nor Conley have played for the Americans.
Colangelo didn't say which other point guards might be considered, saying it would be unfair to speak about any individuals before the team is selected. But he said the Americans were confident they could add if they needed — and they just might the way things are going.
Colangelo should definitely consider picking up the phone and calling Thomas, who averaged 24 points and 5 assists per game during the 2016 playoffs.
If Isaiah were to make Team USA, he would likely see a lot of Celtics teammate Marcus Smart in preparations for Rio. Smart was chosen to be a part of the USA Select Team, which trains with and scrimmages against the National Team.
Would you like to see IT4 on Team USA or do you prefer that he spends the summer focused on recruiting free agents to Boston? Or could he potentially use the National Team as a means to recruit elite players? Voice your opinion in the comments below.
Photo courtesy of @TGTVofficial Danielle Hobeika 6/11/2016 05:20:00 PM Tweet Edit