PHOENIX SUNS

‘I’ll do it’: Suns’ Devin Booker teases return to Team USA

Sep 12, 2023, 5:03 PM

Devin Booker #15 of Team United States poses with his gold medal during the Men's Basketball medal ...

Devin Booker #15 of Team United States poses with his gold medal during the Men's Basketball medal ceremony on day fifteen of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Saitama Super Arena on August 07, 2021 in Saitama, Japan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Team USA is coming off a poor showing at the FIBA World Cup. It is not a terribly uncommon occurrence, considering the Americans rarely send their best players and run into the same problems it finds in the Olympics of attempting to rapidly build continuity against countries that are full of it.

Regardless, each time it happens, the discourse begins on what the United States needs to change in order for it to not happen again and win gold once more at the Olympics.

Washington Wizards forward Kyle Kuzma presented his case, asking for the top names to perform better in smaller roles. Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker volunteered to do just that for the 2024 iteration in Paris.

For those who were up late in the summer of 2021 watching the Tokyo Olympics, you saw Booker thrive in this role change. On a team full of superstars, Booker was effectively Team USA’s version of Mikal Bridges, using his intangibles to make an impact in glue guy areas. He was picking up opposing ball-handlers full court, taking charges, jostling for rebounding position and so on. He was particularly effective on defense, quickly earning him a move into the starting lineup.

This was much needed for a Team USA squad that had other stars struggling to assimilate to what was required, forcing head coach Gregg Popovich to put Booker and the Bucks duo Jrue Holiday and Khris Middleton in the rotation immediately, even though the three were fresh off a full playoff run to the NBA Finals.

Kevin Durant, now Booker’s teammate in Phoenix, continued his sublime form as the best men’s player in Team USA history but he had to carry that group to a gold medal. Booker, Holiday, Miami Heat center Bam Adebayo and Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green were the other standouts.

Following the United States’ loss in the third place game against Canada, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst reported the likes of LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Stephen Curry, Jayson Tatum, Chris Paul, Durant, Booker and Green are all candidates to return.

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