With the Los Angeles Lakers decimated by injuries during the 2020-21 season, the team can finally look forward to a proper offseason of rest and recovery after bowing out in the first round of the 2021 NBA playoffs.
LeBron James and Anthony Davis both suffered injuries that kept them out for nearly half of the regular season, with Davis injuring his groin that hobbled him in their series against the Phoenix Suns. Considering the injuries, shortened offseason,\ and condensed season schedule, it made it a no-brainer for James and Davis to skip out on playing for Team USA in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Fortunately for the United States, there are a wealth of NBA stars willing to play for the national team and the final roster was set, via Shams Charania of The Athletic:
Team USA's 12-man roster for the Tokyo Olympics:
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) June 23, 2021
Kevin Durant and Damian Lillard headline a Team USA squad that on paper looks more talented than the 2016 team that took home gold in Rio. Durant looked dominant in the Brooklyn Nets’ second-round series against the Milwaukee Bucks while Lillard put together an MVP-caliber regular season.
The rest of the roster is a good mix of veterans and young players and Team USA head coach Gregg Popovich will likely try to utilize the versatility and shooting on the team. Even without James and Davis, Team USA is in good hands and is well-positioned to take home its fourth consecutive gold medal.
James focused on getting ankle back to 100 percent
James understands that his window to win another NBA Championship is limited and made the right decision to sit out the Olympics this year. Instead, James will be working on rehabbing his right ankle and getting fully healthy in the offseason.
“Well it’s gonna work wonders for me, obviously. Obviously during the season I don’t talk about rest, I don’t even like to put my mind and frame into that, it makes me weak. But in the offseason I get an opportunity to rest.
“I got like three months to recalibrate, get my ankle back to 100% where it was before the Atlanta game. That’s the most important thing for me, everything else feels extremely well. My ankle is the only thing that was kind of bothering me, obviously bothering me in the later stage of the season and it never fully got back to before the injury. But I’m happy I was able to just go out there and at least try to help our team win.”
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