Can Damian Lillard be the Leader of Team USA?

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Only one month after Team USA announced its 20 player pool from which the final roster will be chosen, there has been a mass exodus from the team. Anthony Davis, James Harden, Eric Gordon, Bradley Beal, and CJ McCollum have all stepped away for various reasons.

But, so far, Damian Lillard remains. Dan Devine at The Ringer asks if Lillard is ready to be Captain America and take his brand international:

After being cut from the final roster in 2014 and withdrawing from consideration in 2016, Lillard has gone on to become one of the sport’s premier point guards. He’s finished in the top six in MVP voting in each of the last two seasons, earned consecutive All-NBA berths, and established himself as a clutch assassin and Pacific Northwest legend by drilling one of the most iconic shots in NBA postseason history. After leading the Trail Blazers to their deepest postseason run in 19 years, Lillard agreed to a supermax contract extension—four years, $196 million—to cement himself as Portland’s cornerstone for the next half-decade and as one the NBA’s true superstars

With Harden and Davis both bowing out, there’s room for a star to take the reins of Team USA. Why not Lillard, a man seemingly in the midst of A Moment, whose earning power and Q rating are both on the rise, who has yet to get a crack at wearing a U.S. uniform in international competition, and who seems to perfectly fit the bill for what Pop’s roster needs most after the recent defections: an ace scorer, a top 3-point shooter, a primary ball handler, and a bona fide leader?

But accoding to multiple sources, Lillard may not have his mind made up yet:


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