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Damian Lillard and Draymond Green commit to Team USA in 2020 Tokyo Olympics

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 21: Draymond Green #14 of the USA Basketball Men's National Team celebrates after winning the Gold Medal Game against Serbia on Day 16 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at Carioca Arena 1 on August 21, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2016 NBAE (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)

On Tuesday morning, Shams Charania announced that Draymond Green and Damian Lillard have committed to play for Team USA in the Tokyo Olympics. While there is a lot more to a team than just two players, American basketball fans must be thrilled with this foundation. Lillard finished sixth in MVP voting this year and could very well earn a spot on the first-team all-NBA roster. Green finished second in Defensive Player of the Year voting and already has one of those awards to his name. These two committing are sure to continue the dominant run of Team USA.

Combined, they are sure to form a potent duo. Both are fierce competitors, and their games should complement each other. As a teammate of Steph Curry on the Warriors, Green is a master of finding open shooters, averaging 8.9 assists per game this year. Likewise, Lillard is a lethal shooter, as evidenced by his 55 points on 24 shots in Game 5 against the Denver Nuggets in the first round of this year’s playoffs.

This season, Lillard averaged nearly 29 points per game to go along with 7.5 assists. That sheer offensive production makes him valuable. However, his value extends beyond that, as he forces defenses to alter their game plan around him. He also led the league in clutch scoring by a significant amount. And his clutch performance has more than earned him the nickname Dame Time. After a down season, Green rejuvenated the young Golden State Warriors this year with his defense, passing, and leadership. That last point is perhaps what will be most valuable for the American team.

The competition

Feb 17, 2021; Memphis, Tennessee, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (2) dribbles the ball against Memphis Grizzlies guard Dillon Brooks (24) during the second half at FedExForum. Mandatory Credit: Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports
Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

After the team’s dominance in the 2016 Olympics, expectations are sky-high for this year’s team. Even dating back farther than that, the Americans have won 6 of the last 7 Olympics. However, winning this year will be no mean feat. The competition looks especially strong this year. Team Australia features Ben Simmons and Joe Ingles. Ricky Rubio, the Gasol brothers, Nikola Mirotic, and the Hernangomez brothers lead Team Spain.

Team Canada poses a grave threat, although they looked more dangerous before Jamal Murray’s injury. Still, they feature five above-average NBA starters. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander has taken his game to the next level this season, although it was lost in a terrible season for the Thunder. Dillon Brooks gave the Jazz fits in their first-round series. RJ Barrett improved across the board this season and only just turned 21. Andrew Wiggins defends at a very high level, a necessary skill to take down Team USA. And Tristan Thompson has a long track record as a solid rim protector and elite offensive rebounder.

Lillard and Green are only the first two to commit for Team USA. There are still more than 50 players in consideration. Coach Gregg Popovich and Jim Tooley, President of USA Basketball, will fill out the rest of the roster. There are plenty of big names who are still considered, including Stephen Curry, Anthony Davis, and many others.

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