Good (and expected) news for Los Angeles Clippers fans who go through basketball withdrawal in the summer time.
Stars Chris Paul and Blake Griffin have been selected for the Team USA Preliminary Roster which consists of 28 players. Here is the press release from the team with a bit more information on the subject.
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (January 23, 2014) – USA Basketball today announced that Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin and guard Chris Paul have been selected to the initial 2014-2016 USA Men’s National Team roster, from which the 2014 USA World Championship Team and, if the U.S. qualifies, the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team will be chosen.
Griffin, who was originally named to the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team but was not able to compete due to injury, is averaging 22.6 points, 10.0 rebounds and 3.5 assists for the Clippers this season in 44 games (all starts). The three-time All-Star has been named the Western Conference Player of the Week twice this season. He ranks 4th in field goals made (368), 9th in the NBA in scoring, 11th in rebounding and 15th in field goal percentage (.524) in the NBA this season.
Paul is a two-time Olympic Gold Medalist in 2008 and 2012 for the U.S. Team. Paul averaged 8.3 points and 5.1 assists in eight games (all starts) for the 2012 U.S. Team that went 8-0 en route to a Gold Medal. In 2008, he averaged 8.0 points and 4.1 assists for the 8-1 Gold Medal U.S. Team. Overall, Paul has competed in 50 USA Basketball games since 2002. This season, the six-time All-Star is averaging 19.6 points, 11.2 assists, 4.6 rebounds and 2.4 steals in 34 games (all starts). He leads the NBA in assists and is 3rd in steals.
The 2014-16 USA Basketball National Team coaching staff features USA head coach and Duke University’s Naismith Hall of Fame mentor Mike Krzyzewski. Serving as assistant coaches are USA Basketball and Syracuse University veteran coach Jim Boeheim, Chicago Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau and New Orleans Pelicans head coach Monty Williams.
In addition to Griffin and Paul, the other players selected to the USA National Team roster include: LaMarcus Aldridge (Portland), Carmelo Anthony (New York), Bradley Beal (Washington), Tyson Chandler (New York), DeMarcus Cousins (Sacramento), Stephen Curry (Golden State), Anthony Davis (New Orleans), Andre Drummond (Detroit), Kevin Durant (Oklahoma City), Kenneth Faried (Denver), Paul George (Indiana), James Harden (Houston), Gordon Hayward (Utah Jazz), Dwight Howard (Houston), Andre Iguodala (Golden State), Kyrie Irving (Cleveland), LeBron James (Miami), Kyle Korver (Atlanta), David Lee (Golden State); Kawhi Leonard (San Antonio), Damian Lillard (Portland), Kevin Love (Minnesota), Derrick Rose (Chicago), Klay Thompson (Golden State), Russell Westbrook (Oklahoma City) and Deron Williams (Brooklyn).
A smaller group of U.S. National Team members will be selected to participate in the 2014 USA National Team’s opening training camp in July. Exact training dates and locations for the USA National Team training in 2014 will be announced at a later date.
With games available this summer, it’s unlikely Chris Paul will be in attendance. He’s getting to that older stage where his time is precious and valuable to how long his high level of play is sustained.
As for Griffin, he’s there if he chooses to be. Rather he plays or not, he’ll likely be invited to participate in the 2016 Olympics, as he was listed to play in the 2012 Olympics, but couldn’t due to an injury.