It’s a wait and see game for Celtics assistant Kara Lawson and 3×3 basketball

“Like all sports leagues, we’re just waiting."

Kara Lawson. AP Photo/Michael Dwyer

With the Tokyo Games pushed to 2021, 3×3 basketball will have to wait another year to make its Olympics debut.

For Celtics assistant coach Kara Lawson, an adviser for USA Basketball’s 3×3 teams, the postponement means a prolonged standby period.

“There’s not really much 3×3 to do right now, just until we know what we’re doing,” Lawson said in a recent telephone interview. “Unless my players change, I’m ready for whenever they say, ‘Let’s go.’”

Team USA has already named its four-person rosters for both men and women, but neither squad has qualified yet for the Olympics. The FIBA 3×3 Olympic qualification tournament that was originally set to take place in India this past March has not been rescheduled.

Once those new dates are confirmed, Lawson and the rest of the 3×3 program can formalize a training schedule. Thirty-six countries will compete in the qualification tournament, with the top three finishers for both men and women earning spots in Tokyo.

Representing the US men will be Canyon Barry, Robbie Hummel, Dominique Jones, and Kareem Maddox. Representing the US women will be WNBA players Napheesa Collier, Stefanie Dolson, Allisha Gray, and Kelsey Plum.

Should the US men and/or women qualify, the selection committee will then name its traveling staff members — and Lawson hopes to be among those chosen to go to Tokyo.

In the meantime, there’s not much she can do but wait.

“Like all sports leagues, we’re just waiting,” Lawson said. “If [NBA] games come back, then that’d be a good sign for the Olympics and Olympic qualifying and things like that. But it’s not like they’re going to not play NBA games and have a FIBA qualifying tournament, you know?”

As a former WNBA player, Lawson has found it easy to stay in contact with the 3×3 teams while they await word from USA Basketball and FIBA. She and Dolson overlapped for two seasons with the Washington Mystics.

“I’m in that circle,” Lawson said. “I’m older than them, so I’m not going to say they’re my friends, per se.”

Related Links

Lawson’s role with the Celtics, of course, will also keep her busy, as the organization has been arranging video conferences with its players and designing virtual workouts amid the NBA’s shutdown. Lawson said she enjoys working with 3×3, in addition to traditional 5-on-5, because of the new sense of creativity with fewer players on the floor.

“Working with 3×3 is great because it just gives you a lot of freedom with what you want to do and how you want to do things,” Lawson said.

The 3×3 game is played on a half court with a 12-second shot clock. The first to 21 points or the team in the lead at the end of 10 minutes is ruled the winner.

Lawson, who won a gold medal with the US women’s basketball team in 2008, is still looking forward to the game’s Olympic debut — even though it’ll be a year late.

“They’re not going away for good,” she said.


This discussion has ended. Please join elsewhere on Boston.com