Kevin Durant says there are 'better candidates' than Caitlin Clark for U.S. Olympic team

The debate on whether Caitlin Clark should have or not have been included on the U.S. women's national basketball roster for the 2024 Paris Olympics continues to rage on, and while Team USA veteran Kevin Durant believes she'll one day be on the team, there were better choices than her this year.

Durant, who will play in his fourth Olympic Games this summer when he suits up for U.S. men's national basketball team, spoke about the decision to omit Clark in an interview with the Wall Street Journal’s editor-in-chief Emma Tucker on Tuesday.

"I still think there are proper steps you got to take in our world to be considered an Olympian," Durant said. "I think (Clark is) gonna definitely be on one of these teams going forward, but right now, there are better candidates out there, I think."

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Clark was not selected to the national team that is filled with WNBA veterans and players that have played in the Olympics before, like Diana Taurasi, Breanna Stewart and A'ja Wilson, among others. Jen Rizzotti, chair of the women's national team committee for USA Basketball, didn't specify exactly why Clark didn't make the roster, but confirmed the committee did take her into consideration.

USA player Kevin Durant (7) reacts in the fourth quarter of the gold medal game during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Summer Games at Saitama Super Arena.
USA player Kevin Durant (7) reacts in the fourth quarter of the gold medal game during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Summer Games at Saitama Super Arena.

Even though the decision to leave Clark off this year's team has been heavily criticized, Durant said Clark is on the right path toward being on the team for a Summer Olympics as she continues to bring more attention toward the WNBA.

"Caitlin’s just got to continue showing up every day. The WNBA is doing a great job of showcasing her. I’m seeing her games on ESPN every other other day. I’m seeing talks around her, no matter what they’re talking about, there’s a lot of dialogue around the game right now, so that’s good as well," Durant said.

“I think if she continues to keep getting better as a player, her production on the court gets better, then the league will grow," he added. "There are just so many great players in our league that Caitlin has helped shine that light on them, and that’ll help the league grow over time."

After it was revealed she didn't make the national team, Clark said she wasn't disappointed by not being selected and "it just gives you something to work for."

"That's a dream. Hopefully one day I can be there. I think it's just a little more motivation," she said.

In her rookie season of her WNBA career with the Indiana Fever, Clark is averaging a team-high 16.1 points, 6.2 assists and 5.1 rebounds per game.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Kevin Durant: 'Better candidates' than Caitlin Clark for Olympics