Kemba Walker revealed on Thursday that he had been named a captain for Team USA as it prepares for the upcoming FIBA World Cup in China.
Walker and Mitchell were natural choices for the captaincy, as they are the only two players to have started both exhibition games that Team USA has played.
Typically, players with more experience on the national team are granted the captaincy.
Walker, Mitchell and Smart have never played for the senior men's team, though they have had assorted experience with USA basketball.
World Cup rosters are usually thinner on established talent than Olympic teams, but Popovich does have a former Olympian on this roster in Harrison Barnes.
That he passed him over in favor of three players who have not participated on the world stage shows how impactful they have been in helping their team get ready for the World Cup.
The story of this team has been how many players have chosen not to play, and how little experience the group remaining actually has in major international competition.