The Olympic basketball tournament is set to begin, as Team USA, like always, will be one of the biggest favorites to take the gold. But this time, they aren’t the clear-cut favorites for a change, as their shaky exhibition period showed they are very beatable. Nevertheless, we have an exciting tournament ahead of us, as the USA roster will finally be getting some additions.
Devin Booker, Khris Middleton, and Jrue Holiday are all set to join and play in their opening game versus France after going through a tough playoff run and Finals matchup. It’s crazy to see how the trio was battling each other for a championship just a few days ago, to now playing together. They didn’t have too much time to rest, as only a few days after their last game, all three of them were on a plane for Tokyo.
That switch will be brutal on their fatigue, as all the traveling after an exhausting playoff run isn’t easy. Considering the role all three of them played for their teams, it was easy to assume some of them, if not all three, would cancel their invites and decided to rest up rather than playing in the Olympics. But all three of them stayed true to their word, earning respect for their whole team, and especially the emotional leader Draymond Green:
“I have a lot of respect for those guys for not only committing to do this but actually keeping their word. You’re talking about three true professionals, three extremely competitive guys that wouldn’t be on their way here if this didn’t mean something. We could’ve very easily got to the last game … and Devin Booker saying, ‘Man, we lost, I’m pissed off, I’m out,’ or Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday saying, ‘We just won a championship, I want to celebrate and stay home with my family, I’m out. It’s on us to make sure that we do our parts to make sure they’re rewarded with what they ultimately came here for, which is to help us to compete and win a gold medal.”Draymond Green, via ESPN
If someone knows anything about long and hard playoff runs, it is Draymond Green. He and the Warriors were in the Finals for multiple consecutive years, eventually taking a toll on them, causing all the major stars to suffer injuries at a certain point. So for Booker, Middleton, and Holiday to still play and risk their own health for their country is very admirable and a move rarely seen in today’s NBA.
How much will coach Pop use them in their opening game, considering they haven’t even practiced with the team, is up for question, but if they want to beat the tough France team, they will need all the help they can get.