OKC Thunder: Chris Paul set to vie for 3rd Olympic Team

OKC Thunder: LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 12: James Harden #12, Chris Paul #13, and Anthony Davis #14 of the United States Men's National Team stand for the National Anthem (Photo by Chris Elise/NBAE via Getty Images)
OKC Thunder: LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 12: James Harden #12, Chris Paul #13, and Anthony Davis #14 of the United States Men's National Team stand for the National Anthem (Photo by Chris Elise/NBAE via Getty Images) /

OKC Thunder point guard Chris Paul on the list of 44 players to participate at Team USA Olympic camp as he makes his bid to play on his third Olympic Team.

This past summer USA Basketball experienced some snubs from their elite athletes who failed to show up for the FIBA World Cup. Not being able to put their top talent on the hardwood resulted in the Americans not just losing the tournament but barely making the required cut to ensure their Olympic berth.

Team USA managed to finish seventh and by virtue of that won’t have to play in the wild card tournaments that will occur this summer to determine the final berths to the Toyko Olympic Games.

It’s long been rumored North Americans (Canada went through the same problem this past summer) don’t place as much weight on the World Championships viewing the Olympics as the more impressive event to participate in. The European players place much more credence on FIBA World Championships and events which is why players like Marc Gasol elected to play for his Spanish Team who ultimately went on to win the FIBA Cup.

Both the American and Canadian Teams watched as one after another of their country’s top players bowed out of participating. Common reasons given were free agency, summer preparation for this season, injury or simply needing a break.

The issue with this mindset is those FIBA events are where countries ensure their Olympic participation and the US came precariously close to missing out on the automatic entry since they failed to medal.

Since Jerry Colangelo took over as Chairman of USA Basketball he’s tried to instill a different mindset where the top level stars participate. It worked initially but has recently regressed from superstar participation which could get dicey when the 12 players are selected for the Olympic team. Colangelo stated non-participation would be remembered when selecting the Olympic team.

The question is do you put the 12 best players on the court or do you reward those players who did give up their summers in order to get the US their seed? It’s a quandary coach Gregg Popovich and Jerry Colangelo will have to weigh when they build the team. But honestly— do you really think Colangelo would say no to the best talent when a gold medal is on the line?

More from Thunderous Intentions

Recently USA Basketball released its shortlist of 44 invitees they’ll use as a starting point to widdle down to 12 players for the U.S. Olympic Team. Among the 44 invitees is OKC Thunder point guard Chris Paul. If he makes the cut it would be his third Olympic Team as he played on the 2008 and 2012 teams.

LeBron James will attempt to tie Carmelo Anthony by making his fourth Olympic Team (I mean – it’s kind of a given if he wants on the team he’ll be on the team).

The full list of 44 players invited to camp can be found via the NBA.com article- click here.

Other players on the OKC Thunder who will be participating with their National teams this summer include Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (Canada), Danilo Gallinari (Italy), Dennis Schroder (Germany) and potentially Luguentz Dort (Canada).

In Shai’s case, he’ll be playing for the Nick Nurse coached Team Canada who’ll be hosting one of the Wild Card Fiba Tournaments in Canada and will need to take down Giannis Antetokounmpo‘s Team Greece in order to land the Olympic berth.

Still, with the creative genius of Nurse at the helm and the ability to put a full roster of NBA players on the court you have to like Team Canada’s chances and it sure would make for a fun matchup to see two teams comprised possibly entirely of NBA talent at the Olympics.

Next. Lu Dort’s uprising couldn’t have come at a better time. dark

Imagine the possibility of witnessing CP3 lining up against SGA at the Olympics – who would have the edge – the mentor or the student? Here’s hoping we get the chance to find out.