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Projecting Damian Lillard’s Role on the 2020 USA Olympics Basketball Team

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Ben Golliver of Sports Illustrated looks at what role Damian Lillard could fill for Team USA in Tokyo.

NBA: Houston Rockets at Portland Trail Blazers Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports

Team USA Basketball is holding a minicamp in Las Vegas this week, and Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard was in attendance for a small portion of it. Portland’s leading man has failed to make the final cut for major competitions in the past, but the possibility of Lillard making the roster for the 2020 Olympics has gained steam after a highly successful 2017-18 season.

Sports Illustrated’s Ben Golliver compiled an early look at the 2020 Olympic Team, and Lillard was placed just outside of a deep field of guards. Steph Curry, James Harden, Russell Westbrook, Kyrie Irving, and Chris Paul are all slightly ahead of Lillard in Golliver’s projections.

SI elaborated on Lillard’s projection as the No. 1 Alternate:

Kudos to Lillard for continuing to show up at USAB events even though he has been cut time after time. His patience should pay off, as it’s hard to imagine Curry, Westbrook, Harden, Irving and Paul will all decide to compete in 2020 given their respective ages, off-court commitments and injury concerns. If even one of those five guards doesn’t play, Lillard has an excellent shot to be Tokyo-bound.

Lillard will be 30 years old and an 8-year NBA veteran when the Tokyo Olympic Games get underway in 2020.


You can read Golliver’s full projections by visiting SI’s The Crossover.