He’s eager to play in Rio Olympics despite long season, virus’ presence
Draymond Green, left, enjoys being selected to U.S. team. Fellow Warriors Klay Thompson and Harrison Barnes are also selected to play in Rio this summer.
Draymond Green remembers soaking up the final moments of the World University Games in 2011, because he thought that would be the last time he was ever selected to wear a U.S. jersey.
But five years later, Green will don the red, white and blue on the biggest stage as the Warriors’ power forward is on the 12-man roster chosen for the U.S. Olympic team Monday.
“This is crazy,” Green said. “I’m excited about it, just thinking about the opportunity to represent my country in the way that I can.
“Obviously, I never take for granted the way these soldiers go out every day and put their lives on the line for our country. But to be able to represent our country in the way that I can, it’s special.”
Green is one of three Warriors on the U.S. roster, joining soon-to-be free-agent forward Harrison Barnes and Klay Thompson. Stephen Curry, who played on the U.S. squads in 2010 and 2014, is spending this summer recovering from ankle, knee and elbow ailments.
Green is one of two secondround picks to make the team, joining Clippers center DeAndre Jordan. The rest of the roster is filled with the more predictable choices: Carmelo Anthony (New York), Jimmy Butler (Chicago), DeMarcus Cousins (Sacramento), DeMar DeRozan (Toronto), Kevin Durant (Oklahoma City), Paul George (Indiana), Kyrie Irving (Cleveland) and Kyle Lowry (Toronto).
“I’m anxious to get on the court, and along with my great coaching staff, get to work,” U.S. head coach Mike Krzyzewski said in a news release. “Looking at this team, our overall balance is what strikes me. We have lightning-quick guards, who can score as well as distribute the basketball. We have great shooters and explosive scorers, we’re big
and athletic, and I think we’ll really be able to defend.”
Green is among the best defenders, having finished second in the Defensive Player of the Year voting in consecutive seasons. He flew to New York for Monday’s roster announcement and will report to Las Vegas for the U.S. training camp July 17.
After logging big minutes in helping the Warriors to backto-back NBA Finals appearances, the 26-year-old said he’ll have decades to rest later. Even fears about the Zika virus didn’t cause much pause for Green when Team USA came calling.
“You think about it, but you just try to be as educated as you can on it,” he said. “That’s kind of the approach I’m taking, doing whatever I can to prevent it. But, I’m not passing up on the opportunity to play in the Olympics. …
“I’d love the opportunity to play for a World Cup as well — but I don’t think it can get much bigger than the Olympics. It definitely means a lot.”
Since playing in the 2011 World University Games, Green helped prep the squad that won the FIBA World Cup in 2014 and was part of the 2015 Team USA Showcase last summer.
“Those things were cool, just going up against guys who were in tip-top shape and ready to go,” he said. “It allowed me to try out some things I had been working on in the middle of the summer. You kind of see where you’re at and realize where you need to work on things.
“It also gives you the confidence, like ‘I can be one of these guys.’ ”
Now, he is one of those guys.
The Warriors are working out a deal to hire Mike Brown as their lead assistant coach, according to Yahoo Sports. Brown, 347-216 (.616) in three head-coaching stints, two with the Cleveland Cavaliers and one with the Los Angeles Lakers, will replace Luke Walton, who got the Lakers’ headcoaching gig.
The U.S. men’s Olympic basketball team poses in New York. From left: Demar DeRozan, Kyle Lowry, Paul George, Kyrie Irving, DeAndre Jordan, Jimmy Butler, Kevin Durant, Harrison Barnes, DeMarcus Cousins, Draymond Green, Carmelo Anthony and Klay Thompson.