It was hard to anticipate what this summer’s edition of Team USA would look like, after two grueling COVID-19-era NBA seasons over the course of the last few years. The group going to the Tokyo Olympics is pretty star-studded after all, though, headlined by some of the world’s best players like Kevin Durant and Damian Lillard.
The 12-man roster was reportedly finalized today. Brooklyn Nets star James Harden was supposed to join his teammate Durant in Tokyo this summer. Instead, he has opted to stay home, after dealing with a hamstring strain through the end of the playoffs. That is probably a wise-decision, as the Nets will have significant pressure to win an NBA Title in 2021-22.
In his place, Detroit Pistons’ breakout forward Jerami Grant will give the team some size and athleticism. After an impressive run in the bubble with the Denver Nuggets, he signed a big three-year, $60 million deal, and blew the doors off of his career high in scoring, averaging 22.3 points per game.
Lillard, Bradley Beal, and Devin Booker, whose Phoenix Suns are just two wins from a shocking NBA Finals appearance, headline a backcourt that will also feature Zach LaVine and Jrue Holiday. Durant, Jayson Tatum, Khris Middleton, and Grant will give the team some impressive scoring punch from the wings, while Kevin Love, Bam Adebayo, and Draymond Green round out the front court.
Team USA's 12-man roster for the Tokyo Olympics:
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) June 23, 2021
We’ve seen more stacked versions of Team USA, but this is a fun group. Durant and Lillard are clearly among the best few players in the world, while guys like Beal, Tatum, and Booker are looking to prove that they deserve consideration in that top tier as well.
Adebayo, Green, Holiday, Middleton, and Grant give the team some significant defensive punch. Durant, LaVine, and Middleton all shot over 40-percent from three-point range this season, while Lillard, Beal, Tatum, Booker, and Love can all stretch opposing defenses as well.
The rescheduled 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo begin on Friday, July 23.