Bradley Beal, shooting guard for the Washington Wizards and former Gator, will not play for Team USA in the Olympic Games in Tokyo. Beal was placed into health and safety protocols on Wednesday due to COVID-19 concerns.
Team USA coach Gregg Popovich expressed his concerns for Beal as he feels horrible that he is not able to participate, especially since this has been a dream of Beal’s since he was a kid. Popovich also stated that he felt Beal was playing great on Team USA and that he added great chemistry to the team.
“Our goal overall is to try and get everyone safely to Tokyo, and at the same time prepare a basketball team to be successful,” said Popovich.
Team USA Struggles
Team USA has had a history of dominating in the Olympics, but the 2021 Olympics has been a different story. In 2012, Team USA competed against Team Nigeria and posted the largest point differential in Olympic history. The score was 156-73, with a starting lineup of Chris Paul, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, LeBron James and Tyson Chandler.
This year, Team USA lost against Nigeria 90-87 and it lost the very next game, 91-83 against Team Australia. Even with a stellar cast of All-Stars, like Kevin Durant, Damian Lillard, and Jayson Tatum, Team USA continues to struggle.
ESPN NBA beat reporter Brian Windhorst says Team USA is not going after a guard as a replacement. Trae Young and Ja Morant were one of the few NBA players that indicated on social media that they were not going to be on the team.
New York Knick Julius Randle was a consideration but according to Windhorst, replacements are JaVale McGee and San Antonio forward Keldon Johnson will be replacement players on the team. McGee is a big man who plays for the Denver Nuggets. Cleveland’s Kevin Love announced he was withdrawing from Team USA as well.
Team USA has one more exhibition game on July 18, against Team Spain, before departing to Tokyo. Team USA will have their first game on July 25, against Team France.