Candace Parker is one of the best players in the WNBA, a two-time MVP who does cool dunks and has made the All-WNBA first or second team in every season she’s been healthy. She has also won two gold medals with the United States Olympic team, but according to a report from ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne, she won’t get a chance to go for a third:
USA Basketball has decided not to include Los Angeles Sparks star Candace Parker on the final 12-player roster that will represent the United States at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro this August, sources close to the situation told ESPN.
Parker is 30 years old and has said she’s fully healthy heading into this WNBA season. She sat out half of the 2015 WNBA season to rest injuries, but she rallied the Sparks to the playoffs after her return, averaging 19.4 points and a career-high 6.3 assists and 10.1 rebounds per game. She finished the season in the top five in the WNBA in points, blocks and steals per game.
There doesn’t seem to be a definite logic behind why Parker was left off. She’s 30, but she played some of the best basketball of her career during her half season last year. Parker was also the United States’ leading rebounder during the 2012 Games.
There’s a case to be made that Parker would be the United States’ third best big after Brittany Griner and Elena Delle Donne (and maybe fifth depending how you feel about Brianna Stewart and Tina Charles). But as Shelburne notes, Parker was the national team’s best player at a tournament in October and she has far more international experience than any of the players she’d theoretically compete with for minutes.
Since the United States is much stronger than any of their competitors, the committee could simply be trying to clear the way for younger players to get some valuable international experience. We’ll see when the full roster is announced on Wednesday.