The US has to pull MacGee and Keldon Johnson for Tokyo

The confirmed casualties of Bradley Beal (by COVID) and Kevin Love (calf injury) already have a change. The team, each time with a lower profile.


The United States will arrive in Tokyo next week with a team far removed from the Dream Team that they promised not so long ago. The absences of several of the best players in the NBA (LeBron James, Stephen Curry, Kawhi Leonard, Anthony Davis, Paul George, Trae Young, Zion Williamson ...) already left a list halfway between what could have been this 2021 and what was 2019 in the World Cup in China. Still, with Kevin Durant, Damian Lillard and Bradley Beal at the helm, the Americans were a priori clearly better than two years ago.

But as the Olympic event draws closer, things do not stop changing for the worse. The third of the names in the previous paragraph, Bradley Beal, is a confirmed COVID discharge. He has been joined by Kevin Love who, although not in his best sporting moment after a season with very few games, was a sure value for experience and quality. But the power forward has been left off the list with a calf injury. USA Basketball has not taken 24 hours to announce their relays and, in principle, they are not very motivating.

These are JaVale MacGee and Keldon Johnson. The first, a 33-year veteran and 13 seasons behind him in the NBA that this course has been distributed between Cleveland and Denver, playing an average of 14.7 minutes. Winner of three rings, two with Golde State Warriors and another with the Lakers, last year in the Disney World bubble, he has mainly been a rotation player, a specialist in the defensive part of the game, something that can come in handy for the American team as long as it manages to adapt to the playing style of the FIBA teams.

As for Keldon Johnson, a second-year player for the San Antonio Spurs, he was one of those selected for the Select Team (the youth team that trains with the national team). In the American camp they were very happy with their work, starting with coach Gregg Popovich, and that has earned him a ticket to Tokyo. With McGee (center) and Johnson (forward) they gain some centimeters compared to the losses of Beal and Love, an aspect in which the American call seemed to be limping. In return, yes, they lose quality and points.

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