The USA Men’s Olympic basketball team has come under a lot of scrutiny just ahead of the Tokyo Olympics after losing back-to-back exhibitions in the lead-up. But Team USA was dealt another blow after it was revealed that Bradley Beal and Kevin Love would no longer be traveling to Tokyo.
Beal was put into health and safety protocol and ultimately ruled out of the Olympics while Love was a sudden withdrawal due to not being 100% healthy. Nonetheless, the search was quickly on as to who would be replacing the two players and one of them is a former member of the Los Angeles Lakers.
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, former Lakers center JaVale McGee will be one of the replacements, along with San Antonio Spurs wing Keldon Johnson:
Keldon Johnson and JaVale McGee will replace Bradley Beal and Kevin Love on Team USA's roster for the Olympics, sources tell ESPN. McGee will travel to Las Vegas to join team on Saturday. https://t.co/236CgYVau0
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 16, 2021
The construction of the Team USA roster had come into question following the team’s exhibition losses as they looked to be too small, lacking true big men to help protect the rim and rebound. McGee is someone who can help that and is an excellent team player who knows his role and will help chemistry and now has a chance to add an Olympic Gold medal to his three NBA Championships.
Johnson reportedly had an excellent camp before initially being cut and many were calling for him to be brought back once Beal went down. He is a versatile defender and solid shooter who will fill his role well.
The pressure on Team USA to dominate is immense as despite many players choosing not to participate in this year’s Olympics, they still obviously have the most talented roster led by the likes of Kevin Durant, Damian Lillard and Jayson Tatum. All eyes will be on them once the games officially begin.
Jayson Tatum honored to wear Kobe Bryant’s No. 10
This is the first Olympics since the tragic passing of Lakers legend Kobe Bryant, who made a huge impact during his time with Team USA basketball. Tatum, in his first Olympics, will be wearing Bryant’s international No. 10, which makes sense as his admiration for Kobe is well known.
Tatum called it an honor to wear the number and added that he won’t take this lightly. He will be heavily relied upon for Team USA to bring home the gold medal.
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