By: Opinionated MJ (Michael Tolliver Jr)
We’ve just lost Bradley Beal and Kevin Love from the Olympic Men’s USA Basketball Team. Beal due to a positive COVID test. Let’s hope that he’s healthy for himself and his family. Kevin Love decided that he wanted to fully heal ahead of the next NBA season. I’m all about locking in for an NBA season as well. They say it’s the best league in the world so there’s no way that I would disrespect a man for adjusting his priorities. Honestly, I’m a big fan of less being more. I actually think this will bode well for the USA Basketball Team. They have replaced those two players with Javale McGee (Nuggets) and Keldon Johnson (Spurs). After they decided on the new additions, I decided I would give this team a moniker. 3D. Everything now centers around Kevin Durant, Damian Lillard, and Draymond Green.
The key here now? Greg Popovich.
I know he’s been apart of all the past failures when it comes to Team USA. He’s primed to have his own iteration of “Splash” and will have Draymond Green to be the initiator just like he is for the real Splash Brothers. This won’t be an indictment on his coaching ability, not at all. We know who Pop is and what he’s done for the game. There’s some who are trying to question if Pop is still what he once was or if the league and the Olympic games are beyond him. I’ll never be crazy or daring enough to question his greatness. I know we live in a culture where this is the norm. A culture where they challenge you on the spot, and if you don’t live up to their expectations with a win, you’re cast away as someone who is no longer able to sustain a certain level of greatness, or whatever the circumstance may call for. Many of the fans of basketball today don’t appreciate a total body of work, only what you did today. They even challenge legacies day to day in 2021.
Enough about Pop. Let’s get to the focal point. Durant, Dame, Dray. This should be the formula. This should be who everyone revolves around. I felt like there were too many egos with Dame, KD, Tatum, Beal, Lavine, and most of this team. Who would be willing to sacrifice? How easily would it be for many of those same names to accept a role? I think now, with the losses and new additions to the team, we will be able to identify roles much easier going forward. Some players who are used to anchoring their teams on the offensive end will now have to accept a lesser role and play it to the best of their ability. I mean, how hard is it to identify that Zach Lavine is arguably the best in this group at attacking the rim? Durant and Dame can create their own shots. Durant is a master is the mid-range. Draymond is a master at anchoring and orchestrating the defense, while also being great in the pick and roll. I could go on but you get where I’m going. This team is a collection of individuals that need to focus on their strengths and bring that to the table in order to succeed. This simply IS NOT typical NBA basketball. We seen that in the first few games that Team USA played. Yes, we could argue that they haven’t been together long enough. We also have to acknowledge that we have a broken system when it comes to Olympic competition because we don’t actually build a team that stays together and builds continuity required to compete at our highest level every four years. Sometimes it seems like a popularity contest.
This is the chance for this iteration of Team USA to right the wrongs the seem to ail Pop in Olympic competition, while also solidifying their spot in the world and even individually. Many think some of these players are capable of playing at a high level with others that are highly talented across the league in the NBA. We will get an opportunity to see that. Let’s hope that they’re ready for a world that has been chasing them for decades upon decades. Let’s hope that the players we consider to be tops at what they do can actually come together to topple the competition. They’re in prime position to be able to impress all the NBA fans in the USA.
Good luck fellas!