It’s almost been a week since Team USA’s heartbreaking loss to France in the FIBA World Cup quarterfinals. Since then, there’s been quite a bit of discussion on the national squad’s disappointing finish, and where they go from here. With the Olympic Summer Games just 10 months away, there’s not a lot of time to think about it.
Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated highlighted some of his conversation with Team USA Managing Director Jerry Colangelo, regarding this exact topic. Colangelo mentioned last week how much he appreciated the players that showed up for Team USA, and admitted his disappointment in those that originally committed but then backed out. In a piece published today on SI.com, Mannix listed Utah’s Donovan Mitchell as one of “2-3 players” that seem to have their invites locked up for Tokyo 2020 next summer.
He has a deep appreciation for the players that committed to play in the World Cup, suggesting that there were “2-3 players” who likely punched their tickets to Tokyo. Kemba Walker, Team USA’s leading scorer, is probably one. Donovan Mitchell, who singlehandedly kept the U.S. team in the game against France, is another. Colangelo also went out of his way to praise Marcus Smart, a defensive menace who can guard multiple positions.
Playing in the Olympics would be awesome for Donovan Mitchell. Team USA is due to get some major roster upgrades next summer with some of the NBA’s brightest stars coming back for international action. Guys like James Harden, Steph Curry, Damian Lillard are just a few to name that Mitchell might have the privilege of playing with. If Donovan Mitchell gained nothing else from his FIBA experience, at least he won over the heart of Colangelo and other Team USA management personnel, and may have just locked up his invite for the historic Olympics.