Was Trae Young's tweet after Team USA loss a shot at ex-Hawks coach Lloyd Pierce?


Things are not going well for the U.S. basketball team in its pre-Olympic exhibition games.

Team USA dropped its second straight exhibition game on Monday, a 91-83 loss to Australia, raising alarms about the team as it prepares for the Summer Olympics in Tokyo in just a couple of weeks.

Among those who seemed to have something to say was Atlanta Hawks star Trae Young.

The 22-year-old was left off the roster, along with other young stars such as Zion Williamson and Ja Morant. When the game ended, Young tweeted out a couple of emojis that appeared to sum up his feelings watching the team.

It is apparent Young believes he should be on the team and the tweet takes on some more significance when you look at the coaching staff of Team USA, which includes former Hawks head coach Lloyd Pierce as an assistant on Gregg Popovich’s staff.

Pierce, who was fired by the Hawks in the middle of the season, told reporters last year that he did not think Young had earned the right to be on the team yet, specifically pointing to Harrison Barnes and Mason Plumlee as more deserving Olympians.

“You have to understand when it’s your time, when it’s your opportunity,” Pierce said last year. “He’s a first-time All-Star. We’re talking about guys, three-time Olympic appearance and international basketball is different…You don’t just go because you’re good. You go because you’ve earned the right, the honor. You have the right mindset. You have to give up 45 days of your summer to commit to your country, and it’s not easy.”

Of course, Pierce’s comments came last year before the pandemic and before the Olympics were pushed back another year; Young’s stardom has only grown since, especially this postseason in which he was the breakout star.

Yet, if anyone should have known what Young was capable of, it was his head coach at the time. Pierce did not vouch for Young and the coaching staff’s decision to exclude the young, upcoming players seems to look more puzzling each day as they are 0-2 in exhibitions.

Young, meanwhile, will continue to watch from home — and maybe tweet.

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