Warriors’ Draymond Green says Team USA must take doubts in stride and ‘go win the gold’
Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green visited Team USA last week to find one common theme swirling the minds of many players: the current roster is heavily doubted to perform to its previous gold-medal standards of excellence.
Green, who took part in Team USA’s last venture for gold as a member of the Rio 2016 Olympics, noted this is a unique opportunity for those who said yes to the opportunity to take part on the road to this 2019 FIBA World Cup:
“So many great players have put on that USA jersey and went and done great things,” Green told Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated. “Obviously, there’s so much noise about, ‘Oh, it’s the JV team; it’s the B team.’ Those are some great players in there really embracing the challenge…
“Understanding that no matter what anyone says about this team or the roster, you’re wearing a USA jersey. And for that reason, everybody wants to destroy you. Take that, take it in stride, enjoy the process and go win the gold.”
So far, there haven’t been any issues in performance, as the Americans beat Spain 90-81 in their first exhibition game this summer, though the slew of players withdrawing their commitment to Team USA has been concerning, to say the least.
Sacramento Kings forward Harrison Barnes, a former teammate of Green with the Warriors and Team USA in Rio, is also aware of the noise surrounding this team:
“We hear the noise,” Barnes said. “It’s about just us, getting better, continuing to grow closer on and off the floor, and we’ll go from there…
“We’re motivated more than anything to keep the gold standard going, by the teams that went before us that went and won the World Cup, that went and won the Olympics multiple times. That’s what we’re chasing right now.”
It’s likely that the Americans won’t face a real threat until they’re past the group stage, with the Czech Republic, Turkey, and Japan initially on the docket — teams they should beat with relative ease upon getting to China at the end of the month.