After NBA stars Kevin Love and Bradley Beal were put under health and safety protocols and thereby removed from the 12-man Team USA roster for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, JaVale McGee and Keldon Johnson were swiftly named as replacements earlier today. Team USA were off to a shaky start in their Olympic campaign after suffering two straight losses to start off the campaign.
They were able to hit back via a resounding 108-80 victory over Argentina, and have now been forced to bring in replacements for both Beal and Kevin Love. In this article, we look at the sort of roles the two replacements are expected to fulfill in the upcoming 2020 Tokyo Olympics for Team USA.
NBA Rumors: How can JaVale McGee and Keldon Johnson help Team USA in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics?
On paper, there is not much for Team USA to worry about, with multiple elite stars such as Damian Lillard, Kevin Durant, Zach LaVine and Jayson Tatum along with the likes of Draymond Green and Bam Adebayo also available on the roster. With two new vacancies, fans would have expected head coach Gregg Popovich to choose from a range of other stars who were rumored to be interested in playing.
This includes the likes of Julius Randle and Christian Wood. However, both Keldon Johnson and JaVale McGee are expected to be role players. McGee started just two games in the 2020-21 NBA season and will be the second most recognized center on the roster after Bam Adebayo, who has till now received the highest minutes at the center position for Team USA.
The 21-year old Keldon Johnson, a Forward by trade, will be the youngest player to join Team USA’s ranks and can be expected to play a high number of minutes in the two upcoming exhibitions against Australia and Nigeria. Johnson had a successful sophomore year with the San Antonio Spurs and averaged 12.8 points and six rebounds per game.
With the likes of Durant, Tatum, Draymond Green and Khris Middleton among others vying for the starting forward spot, Keldon Johnson could also be expected to start on the bench unless further injuries come up. Regardless, the two are expected to play increased minutes in the remaining exhibition games considering Team USA is still missing multiple players owing to the NBA Finals.
The likes of Devin Booker, Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday are all currently involved in the Finals series, which is delicately poised at 2-2. Hence, the two replacements are expected to act as role players at the Tokyo Olympics considering the wealth of talent that Team USA boasts of.
Stay updated with the latest basketball news and transfer rumours. Follow us on our facebook page.