Harrison Barnes’ career-best season continues, as he was confirmed among the list of 57 finalists for the 2021 Team USA Olympic roster. Barnes was previously one of the 42 finalists released last year before the Olympics were postponed.
USA Basketball added an additional 15 to have some flexibility depending on player availability since training camp will coincide with the final rounds of the NBA postseason. At the moment, that shouldn’t be a problem for Barnes, though things could change by the March 25 trade deadline.
Barnes has been a fixture of USA Basketball throughout his career, participating in a total of 25 international games. His experience with the senior national team began when he was part of the 2014 Select Team that scrimmaged against the eventual 2014 World Champions. He was on the Olympic team in 2016 that won gold in Rio de Janeiro, though he only played four games and 32 total minutes during that tournament.
Three years later, Barnes was a starter on the 2019 World Cup team, averaging 11.6 points in 26.5 minutes per game. Alas, that group finished in seventh place, the lowest finish in any world championship for Team USA. It doesn’t appear that result has diminished USA Basketball’s fondness for Barnes, however, since he remains a part of the player pool under Gregg Popovich, who will once again be the head coach.
It’s worth noting a member of the Kings who is not among the finalists: De’Aaron Fox. Despite arguably outplaying Barnes this season (and truthfully, being more likely to be available in July), Fox was not on the list of 57. Perhaps there is some lingering resentment with USA Basketball after Fox withdrew from the 2019 World Cup roster, when the team really could have used a player with his skillset.
Regardless, this would be a great honor for Barnes if he makes the Olympic team, which would be no small feat considering the size of the pool. Best of luck to the Black Falcon.