Stephen Curry Layup

Team USA Needs to Revamp Selection Process

Stephen Curry LayupIn an entirely unnecessary announcement, Stephen Curry has withdrawn his name from consideration to represent the Untied States at the 2016 Olympic games in Rio de Janeiro.

The toll of playing a total of 193 games — with at least two more if Golden State sweeps the Cavaliers in the NBA Finals — forced Curry to choose resting himself during the summer over chasing another gold medal. 

“After a great deal of internal thought and several discussions with my family, the Warriors and my representatives, I’ve elected to withdraw my name from the list of eligible players on Team USA’s preliminary roster for the 2016 Summer Games in Brazil,” Curry said in a statement released by the Warriors. “I recently informed (USA Basketball managing director Jerry Colangelo) of this decision.”

There should be no backlash at the decision, as Curry anchored the United States as it won the 2010 and 2014 FIBA World Cup of Basketball tournament in Spain.

Having already played for Team USA on two occasions, Curry has fulfilled his duties to allow the United States to play the best possible players in an international competition and should prioritize the rest of his NBA career.

Curry  suffered a Grade 1 MCL sprain in the Warriors’ first-round series against Houston and wants to rest once the season concludes.

Indiana forward Paul George was limited to just six games after he broke his leg participating in a scrimmage for Team USA during the off-season.
Indiana forward Paul George was limited to just six games after he broke his leg participating in a scrimmage for Team USA during the off-season.

If Team USA simply implemented a system of selecting players, capping the number of times an individual can participate in international competition, it would lift a burden several superstar players are facing.

Golden State is the one risking its franchise player and after logging 6,568 minutes over the last two seasons (and counting), an injury would only decimate the Warriors.

Fatigue plays a significant factor in injury, the exact reason why Golden State exercised the right to limit Curry’s playing time during the regular season.

Any time the Warriors believed the lead they had was insurmountable, Curry would head to the bench.

Curry sat the entire fourth quarter on 17 occasions during the 2015-16 campaign, a tactic the team deemed critical as it pursues its second straight NBA championship.

The horrific injury Paul George suffered while playing in a Team USA scrimmage two years ago marked the first time any player was forced to miss a significant portion of time served as a wakeup call for several players.

Once George was carted off the court, several superstar players withdrew their names from consideration for the 2014 FIBA World Cup team.

The move paved the way for players that otherwise would have likely been passed over onto the world stage representing the United States.

By forcing young players, often suiting up for inferior teams, to play with other talented players, it forces rapid development.

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich (left) will serve as head coach for the United States at the next two international competitions following the 2016 Olympics.
Spurs coach Gregg Popovich (left) will serve as head coach for the United States at the next two international competitions following the 2016 Olympics.

Following his time with Team USA, Warriors guard Klay Thompson has solidified himself as an elite shooting guard in the NBA.

Sacramento center DeMarcus Cousins has cycled through coaches, but managed to implement the lessons taught by Mike Krzyzewski to morph into an All-Star center.

This summer marks the final time Krzyzewski will serve as head coach for Team USA, with Spurs coach Gregg Popovich already appointed to lead the team at the 2019 FIBA World Cup in China and the 2020 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo.

Just how much value can you place on having a young player such as Karl-Anthony Towns, the reigning NBA Rookie of the Year, spending an entire off-season training with the best young players and an elite coaching staff?

The impact of playing for Team USA often spills onto the court at NBA games, with Curry and Thompson molding Golden State into one of the most unstoppable teams the league has ever seen following their gold medal run at the 2014 FIBA World Cup.

Exposing young players, often stuck on lottery bound teams, against superior talent often elevates their game, benefiting the NBA as whole.

Curry has nothing left to prove, while Team USA veterans LeBron James, Chris Paul, Carmelo Anthony and others are more concerned with winning an NBA championship than an Olympic gold medal.

Simply by instituting a cap, restricting players from participating after two international appearances, Team USA will constantly be infused with new talent, while the NBA benefits from an even more competitive league.

About Brendan Galella

Brendan Galella founded Shatter the Glass to make the NBA even more accessible to basketball fans. Composing player rankings, team evaluations and intriguing observations, he hopes to turn every reader into a dedicated and educated basketball follower.

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