Brooklyn's Kevin Durant, Portland's Damian Lillard headline Tokyo men's basketball roster
With the NBA in the midst of the two conference playoff finals but the 2021 Tokyo Olympics less than a month away, USA Basketball has reportedly set its roster.
Kevin Durant and Damian Lillard headline the 12-man roster, according to multiple reports. The roster also will include Bam Adebayo, Bradley Beal, Devin Booker, Jerami Grant, Draymond Green, Jrue Holiday, Zach LaVine, Kevin Love, Khris Middleton and Jayson Tatum.
The roster features six players who were NBA All-Stars during the 2020-21 season. Three players have previous Olympic experience: Durant, Green and Love. Three other players are still involved in the postseason: Booker, Middleton and Holiday.
Players will report to training camp July 3-4 in Las Vegas and will play five exhibition games leading into the Toyko Games. Opening ceremonies for Tokyo are July 23.
Durant will make his third Olympic appearance after winning gold medals in Rio (2016) and London (2012). He is a four-time NBA scoring champion and two-time NBA Finals MVP.
Lillard is heading to Tokyo after one of his best seasons in the NBA. The 30-year-old guard averaged 28.8 points, 7.5 assists and 4.2 rebounds with the Portland Trail Blazers this season and earned his sixth All-Star nod.
At 23 years old, Tatum will be the youngest member of the team. He is already a two-time NBA All-Star and was a member of the 2019 World Cup team. Tatum averaged 26.4 points per game with the Celtics and the first player in franchise history to record multiple 50-point games in a single season.
Adebayo and Booker will both be 24 at the start of the Games. Both were NBA All-Stars in 2020, and Booker has experience playing on the U.S. Men’s National Team. Booker has helped the Phoenix Suns to a 2-0 lead over the Western Conference finals. If Phoenix advances to the NBA Finals, he’ll go straight from the Finals to Tokyo. The start date for the Finals has not been set but the latest possible Game 7 date is July 22.
In his fourth season with the Miami Heat, Adebayo ranked in the Top 20 in field goal percentage, total rebounds, defensive rebounds, rebounds per game, free throws made and player efficiency.
Love and Green are each making their second Olympic appearance. Love won the gold in 2012 and made the team despite playing just 25 games because of a right calf strain. He averaged 12.2 points with the Cleveland Cavaliers, his lowest scoring average since his rookie season.
Green was part of the gold-medal team in 2016 and is coming off an impressive season with the Golden State Warriors. He was a finalist for the Defensive Player of the Year and was named to the All-Defensive First Team after averaging 7.1 rebounds and 8.9 assists per game in 2020-21.
According to The Athletic, Jerami Grant was the last player to commit to Team USA. He took the spot of James Harden, who withdrew because of a hamstring injury that limited him in the Nets' second-round playoff series against the Bucks. This will be Grant's first Olympics, but he was a member of the 2016 USA Select Team alongside Booker.
Holiday and Middleton are also still playing in the NBA postseason, facing the Atlanta Hawks in the Eastern Conference finals. Holiday tied his career high in steals with 1.6 a game so far this season and has already been named All-Defensive First Team. Middleton has played internationally for Team USA in the 2019 World Cup and joined the U.S. Men’s National Team in 2018.
Beal’s international experience dates back to 2010, when he was named MVP of the FIBA U17 World Championship. He’s a three-time NBA All-Star (2018, 2019, 2021) and was second in the league in scoring this season with 31.3 points per game with the Wizards.
Competing in his first Olympics, LaVine is coming off a career season. He averaged a career-high 27.4 points and 4.9 assists per game with the Bulls.
While those players hope to lead Team USA to another gold medal in Tokyo, some big names opted for rest over the Olympics this season. LeBron James, Steph Curry, Chris Paul, James Harden, Anthony Davis, Donovan Mitchell, Jimmy Butler and Kyle Lowry all declined the chance to play in Tokyo.
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