Paul George is one of the 30 players to make the list of finalists for the USA Basketball roster this summer for the 2016 Rio Olympics (right here on NBC).
In fact, he appears to have a real chance to make the roster. He was on the roster for the last World Championships — before his horrific injury in Las Vegas — and he’s back to playing at that level. He and Kawhi Leonard could both be key cogs on the wing as defensive stoppers who can also hit threes and get some buckets in transition (or in the post, depending on the matchup).
Does George want to go to Rio? Yes.
Will he? That’s another question, one he can’t answer until the season is over. Here is how he explained it Monday, via Candace Buckner of the Indy Star.
This is entirely reasonable, and it’s not out of line with what LeBron James and others have said. There is a desire to represent their country — not to mention push their brand out and pimp their shoes on a massive stage — but it means less rest for bodies that already go through a marathon each season. George is just this season getting back and adapting to playing a full season again; it’s the smart move to listen to his body when the Pacers are eliminated and then make his call.
That said, I expect he will choose a couple of weeks in Rio.