Paul George has been building one heck of a resume, but the portion that falls under the "International Experience" heading is still a bit lacking.
As we move through his fourth professional season, the Indiana Pacers swingman has already been to the Eastern Conference Finals, emerged as an All-Star, submitted his name as one of the 10 best players in the NBA and started to challenge LeBron James and Kevin Durant in the MVP race.
Not too shabby for a 23-year-old from Fresno State who heard nine names called before the Pacers took a chance on him during the 2010 NBA draft.
Yes, definitely. Playing for Team USA is one of the goals in my career. I would like to be part of the team for sure. It is always special to represent your country and it would be an honour for me to help Team USA win titles. I would like to win NBA titles, but I would also like to win gold medals.
I think it's safe to assume that he's talking about the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro as well.
George has practiced with the national team in Las Vegas, but he has yet to throw on the Team USA jersey during true international competition. Fortunately for George, it would be foolish to keep him off the roster.
Back in October—before the 2013-14 season revealed the extent to which George would break out, mind you—I predicted that he'd be on the 2016 Team USA roster.
And I wasn't alone.
NBC Sports' Kurt Helin had George playing in 2014. B/R's Alec Nathan said the same thing, just for the 2016 version, but he also wrote, "Expect George to become a staple of Team USA lineups over the next decade."
There's no doubt about that now. No matter which international competition we're discussing, George belongs.
He's reached the level where he can play on any roster he pleases. Well, kind of.
We don't have any problems with George suiting up for Team USA. But if he wanted to join forces with Spain, France, Argentina, China or one of the other countries that typically boasts a fairly strong roster, that's where we might have to draw the line.