Chris Paul, a two-time Olympic Gold Medalist, and nine-time NBA All-Star announced that he will not be playing for Team USA at this summer’s Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
According to Lee Jenkins of Sports Illustrated, one of Paul’s reasons for withdrawing is to spend more time with his family and to rest.
Paul’s departure is likely to open doors for young talents like Stephen Curry, Russel Westbrook, Damian Lillard, and Kyrie Irving.
Replacing Paul will be a very tough for Team USA Coach Mike Krzyzeweski to do. But he’s got time to make a decision, and he’s got several amazing players to choose from. Some may say that Curry will be the one that’ll take the point guard position. It’s too early to assume who will take over Paul’s role on the team, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Curry was named starting point guard for Team USA.
According to Michael Pina of Fox Sports, Paul’s dropout could be an indication that Team USA is looking to shift towards a younger direction. In other words, they’d like young players on the roster, though Lebron James, Dwight Howard, LaMarcus Aldridge and Carmelo Anthony are on the roster.
Paul has been a key player for Team USA for the past two Olympic Games. No one will ever forget the gold medal game against Spain during the 2008 Olympics, when he played a key role off the bench scoring a total of 13 points, helping the USA win and take home the gold. During the 2012 Olympics, he averaged 8.2 points, 5.1 assists, and 1.6 steals per game, helping the USA go on a undefeated 8-0 run to capture and bring back the gold to the United States.
His tremendous leadership and presence on the team will be greatly missed.