With four players on the Team USA roster, we all knew that the Boston Celtics would have a major influence on the squad.
Well now it’s official with Team USA’s triumvirate of captains including a pair of Celtics — Kemba Walker and Marcus Smart.
UPDATE (Friday, Aug. 23 at 12:34 p.m. ET by Nick Goss): It appears Team USA doesn't have official captains, but we should still expect Walker and Smart to have strong leadership roles on the squad.
Point of clarification: There was a report in Australia this week that Gregg Popovich had formally named Kemba Walker, Donovan Mitchell and Marcus Smart as Team USA captains. But I am told it is NOT an official thing — Pop merely meant he is leaning on those guys for leadership— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) August 23, 2019
--End of Update--
They along with Utah’s Donovan Mitchell, are charged with leading a team that has lost a lot of its star power with several key players opting to not play for a variety of reasons.
"We have a bunch of guys who don't mind being the underdogs,” Walker told reporters. “We are hungry, and we are going to go out there to try and win a gold medal...I take pride in being a leader and guys looking to me and I'm here to set the tempo and bring my experience and energy."
Walker is arguably the best player on the team, so it’s no surprise that he’s a captain. Mitchell being named a captain isn’t a shock either, when you consider how he came in as a rookie and showed tremendous ability as a leader with the Jazz and has continued to build off that success.
But Smart’s selection as a captain speaks to why his brand of leadership goes beyond the box score.
He has been nursing a calf injury, which has not allowed him to get on the floor as much as he would like. He did not play (coaches decision) in Team USA’s 102-86 exhibition win over Australia on Thursday morning.
But whether he’s on or off the court, Smart’s leadership with Team USA is steady — something the Celtics are looking forward to seeing on display this season.
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