Jose Calderon is not accustomed to riding the bench, but that is exactly what he has been doing in Spain’s first two losses of the Rio Olympics. Calderon received a DNP-CD in the loss against Croatia and played fewer than two minutes in the loss to Brazil, but he remains a team player and is focused on the bigger picture.
Calderon is not getting playing time due to the improved play Ricky Rubio, Sergio Rodriguez, and Sergio Llull. It is not easy to watch your team struggle when you are on the bench, but the newest member of the Los Angeles Lakers is keeping a positive attitude.
In an interview with John Schuhmann of NBA.com, Calderon expresses his desire to remain a team player when he was asked if it was tough to sit and watch his team lose games:
“It’s always tough when your team loses. It’s about us. We got three more games and we can make it happen or not. Hopefully, it can get better.”
Spain is always a favorite to challenge the United States in basketball, so it comes as a huge surprise that they have dropped their first two games of pool play. It is even more surprising that Calderon is riding the bench after he was such an integral piece for the Spanish National Team for many years.
Though Calderon has always been seen as a role player in the NBA he has always gotten consistent minutes. He has a career average of 28.8 minutes per game and has never played less than 21 minutes per night in his career.
Calderon will be battling Marcelo Huertas for backup minutes for the Lakers as D’Angelo Russell and Jordan Clarkson are expected to be the starting guards. Even if he doesn’t get the minutes he’s used to, similar to his Olympic experience so far, he will serve as a mentor to the young Lakers as he is likely doing for the young players on the Spanish National Team.