The United States Olympic team is seeking a replacement for Bradley Beal, who will not be making the trip to Tokyo (Jerami Grant, due to an “abundance of caution,” has also been placed in COVID protocols). It’s unclear who will be joining the Americans in Beal’s stead, though apparently it won’t be Trae Young, who broke out for 28.8 points per game this postseason while leading the Hawks to only their second conference finals appearance in franchise history.
Young tweeted a soundbite from Isiah Thomas’ appearance in The Last Dance, lamenting not being chosen for the “Dream Team” that dominated the 1992 Olympics. For all his NBA accomplishments, the Hall-of-Fame point guard was not well-liked by his peers, particularly Michael Jordan, who many suspect put the kibosh on Thomas playing in Barcelona. Young, who seems to have embraced his villain role, can probably relate on some level.
Not much has gone right for Team USA, losing two of their three exhibition games including a stunning defeat at the hands of Nigeria in their opener last Saturday. In fairness, the US hasn’t been at full strength yet, relying on Select Team call-ups Darius Garland and Keldon Johnson with Jayson Tatum nursing a knee injury and the trio of Devin Booker, Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday still competing in the NBA Finals. Stephen Curry, Chris Paul and Donovan Mitchell declined invites to Team USA while James Harden backed out due to a hamstring injury.
Young clearly feels disrespected by the snub, though maybe it’s for the best. The 22-year-old played an exhausting 37.7 minutes per game in the playoffs and could barely move after injuring his foot early in Atlanta’s series with Milwaukee.