Hawks point guard Trae Young, named a starter in the upcoming NBA All-Star game, was not one of 44 finalists for the 2020 U.S. Olympic men’s basketball team announced by USA Basketball Monday.
Young is currently fourth in the NBA in scoring at 29.7 points per game and second in assists at 9.1 per game.
Before Monday’s game against the Magic, Young said he didn’t have too much to say about being left off the list, but said he would have wanted to play for Team USA.
“I'd be lying if I said I wasn't hurt by seeing it. ... Obviously I would have wanted to play on the team,” Young said.
Forward John Collins was also excluded from the list of candidates who will eventually make up the 12-member team to represent the United States in Tokyo. Both Young and Collins were part of the Select Team that helped the U.S. training for the 2019 FIBA World Cup.
On Twitter, Young wished good luck to the 44 finalists and the 12 players who will eventually make the roster.
Hawks head coach Lloyd Pierce remains an assistant on the staff of Gregg Popovich for Team USA.
When asked if it was hard to see Young left off the list, Pierce said: “No, because honestly I respect the league, I respect the levels and layers you have to go through. Trae’s having a great year. These guys have had great careers.
“And you have to go through certain things and you have to understand when it’s your time, when it’s your opportunity. He’s a first-time All-Star. We’re talking about guys, three-time Olympic appearances, and international basketball is different. It’s different. You don’t just go because you’re good. You go because you’ve earned the right, the honor. You have the right mindset.
“You have to give up 45 days of your summer to commit to your country, and it’s not easy. And the guys that are on that list, Harrison Barnes, Mason Plumlee, those guys have done it, they’ve committed to it. And that’s a big part of the process. Being able to commit and willing to commit to doing it, just as we as coaches have done.”
Pierce later clarified that Young deserves the accolades he’s getting this season, and that his time will come for a shot at the Olympics.
“He is one of the top players in the NBA,” Pierce said. “He deserves to be a first-time All-Star this year, he deserves to be a starter, and he deserves an opportunity to the Olympics. And his time will come.”
According to USA Basketball, the list of finalists include nine members of the gold medalist 2016 U.S. Olympic Team, seven gold medalists from the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team and all 12 members of the USA’s 2019 FIBA World Cup Team. The player selections were approved by the USA Basketball Board of Directors. The official 12-member team will be announced later this year.
The finalists are:
Bam Adebayo (Miami Heat), LaMarcus Aldridge (San Antonio Spurs), Harrison Barnes (Sacramento Kings), Bradley Beal(Washington Wizards), Devin Booker (Phoenix Suns), Malcolm Brogdon (Indiana Pacers), Jaylen Brown (Boston Celtics), Jimmy Butler (Miami Heat), Mike Conley (Utah Jazz), Stephen Curry (Golden State Warriors), Anthony Davis (Los Angeles Lakers), DeMar DeRozan (San Antonio Spurs), Andre Drummond (Cleveland Cavaliers), Kevin Durant (Brooklyn Nets), Paul George (L.A. Clippers), Draymond Green (Golden State Warriors), James Harden (Houston Rockets), Montrezl Harrell (L.A. Clippers), Joe Harris (Brooklyn Nets), Tobias Harris (Philadelphia 76ers), Gordon Hayward (Boston Celtics), Dwight Howard (Los Angeles Lakers), Brandon Ingram (New Orleans Pelicans), Kyrie Irving (Brooklyn Nets), LeBron James (Los Angeles Lakers), Kyle Kuzma (Los Angeles Lakers), Kawhi Leonard (L.A. Clippers), Damian Lillard (Portland Trail Blazers), Brook Lopez (Milwaukee Bucks),Kevin Love (Cleveland Cavaliers); Kyle Lowry (Toronto Raptors); JaVale McGee (Los Angeles Lakers), Khris Middleton (Milwaukee Bucks), Donovan Mitchell(Utah Jazz), Victor Oladipo (Indiana Pacers), Chris Paul (Oklahoma City Thunder), Mason Plumlee (Denver Nuggets), Marcus Smart (Boston Celtics), Jayson Tatum (Boston Celtics), Klay Thompson (Golden State Warriors), Myles Turner (Indiana Pacers), Kemba Walker (Boston Celtics), Russell Westbrook (Houston Rockets) and Derrick White (San Antonio Spurs).