Thursday, June 20, 2024

Diana Taurasi Discusses Caitlin Clark’s Snub from Team USA’s 2024 Olympic Roster

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Diana Taurasi knows a little something about Olympic success seeing how she is the record-holder for the most consecutive gold medals in United States Basketball history with five, and she believes Caitlin Clark is going to figure out how to adjust as her career progresses even after the Indiana Fever guard was left off the 2024 Olympic team.

“The game of basketball is all about evolving. It’s all about getting comfortable with your surroundings,” Taurasi said, per Steve Gardner of USA Today. “College basketball is much different than the WNBA than it is overseas. Each one almost is like a different dance you have to learn. And once you learn the steps and the rhythm and you have a skill set that is superior to everyone else, everything else will fall into place.”

This is not the first time Taurasi has weighed in on the Clark phenomenon.

While Clark was leading the Iowa Hawkeyes to the national championship game last season, Taurasi appeared on ESPN and said (h/t Brad Crawford of 247Sports), “Reality is coming.

“You look superhuman playing against some 18-year-olds but you’re going to come play with some grown women that have been playing professional basketball for a long time. There is gonna be a transition period where you’re going to have to give yourself some grace as a rookie.”

While there didn’t appear to be much wrong with Taurasi’s comments suggesting it will take some time for the high-profile rookie class to adjust to a higher level of competition—which is always the case in any professional sports league—the comments created plenty of discourse.

It reached a point that Taurasi had to comment on the situation again.

“You know these days, everything takes a life of their own,” she later said on Arizona Sports 98.7 (h/t Crawford). “Every little snippet, every little comment, any quote taken out of context. Look, I only said it because when I watch games—and I’m sure when you talk to any professional athlete—you think about what they’ll look like as a pro.vHow will it translate? It’s going to translate. Like any college quarterback, it’s going to take time.”

The all-time great’s latest comments about the Olympic team are also fairly innocuous, although they are notable since she is part of this year’s team and Clark isn’t.

According to Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium, this is the full roster:

  • A’ja Wilson (Las Vegas Aces)
  • Diana Taurasi (Phoenix Mercury)
  • Brittney Griner (Phoenix Mercury)
  • Sabrina Ionescu (New York Liberty)
  • Breanna Stewart (New York Liberty)
  • Kelsey Plum (Las Vegas Aces)
  • Alyssa Thomas (Connecticut Sun)
  • Napheesa Collier (Minnesota Lynx)
  • Jewell Loyd (Seattle Storm)
  • Jackie Young (Las Vegas Aces)
  • Chelsea Gray (Las Vegas Aces)
  • Kahleah Copper (Phoenix Mercury)

At this point, it’s hard to argue that Clark is one of the best 12 players in the league and worthy of inclusion on the roster based on basketball alone.

She leads the WNBA with 5.6 turnovers per game and is shooting just 37.3 percent from the field and 32.7 percent from deep. Her Fever are in second-to-last place in the standings with a 3-9 record, and there have been many of those growing pains that Taurasi predicted.

Still, Clark has shown flashes of her immense potential and is fourth in the league in assists per game. She just scored 30 points in a dominant performance during Friday’s victory over the Washington Mystics and appears to be adjusting to the WNBA.

If she continues to make some of those adjustments and improves over time, it will be anything but a surprise if she is on the 2028 Olympics roster.

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