Tim Reynolds AP basketball writer
The men’s basketball team at the US Olympics was together for two weeks. There were six practices. The team held four exhibitions. A pair of roster changes is already needed, and Americans don’t know when the other three players will join the team for the first time.
If that wasn’t enough, I realized that Zach LaVine was participating in the Health and Safety Protocol and wouldn’t accompany him on a flight to Tokyo shortly before he was scheduled to fly on Monday.
That may not be the secret to the success of the Olympics, but Tokyo is waiting, whether ready or not.
“It’s a little different,” said US coach Gregg Popovich.
No, it’s very different. Unprecedented, really, like almost everything else about these Tokyo Olympics starting on Friday. The United States, a three-time defender of the men’s basketball gold medalist, will leave Las Vegas on Monday for a trip to Japan to begin final preparations for the start of the Tokyo Games.
We plan to do four more exercises in Japan before the Olympics with France on Sunday (July 25th). Americans have 12 names on the roster. Khris Middleton, Jul Holidays, and Devin Booker are still in the NBA Finals, and Lavine is in the protocol, so only eight will join the team on a trip to Japan. There is hope that Ravine will be able to join the team at some point in the not too distant future, but he was not cleared due to the flight on Monday.
Ravien started the last two exhibition games instead of beer and looked good during the Olympic preparations. He averaged 10.3 points in four exhibition games, third in the team after Damian Lillard and Kevin Durant, and had some impressive transition dunks.
“I think we are all better off against the adversity we experience because you either handle it or not,” Popovich said. “You understand that. And these guys had to do it. They kept raising their heads. There may be disappointments and events happening here and there. , They go on, and that’s all about life, so this makes no difference either. “
Adversity has come in bundles for Americans. During my two-week stay in Las Vegas:
• Bradley Beal was forced to leave the team for virus-related reasons, and Kevin Love withdrew due to an injury.
• Jerami Grant temporarily participated in a virus-related health and safety protocol and missed a few days.
• Keldon Johnson was promoted from the select team (which allowed players to come to Las Vegas to play against Olympic athletes) instead of beer, and JaVale McGee was added to the roster instead of love. McGee joined the team at the exhibition finale with Spain on Sunday but did not play. So his first action on this team will be during the actual Olympic Games.
• Oh, and the Americans lost to Nigeria and Australia and had to cancel their rematch with the Australians, and for some time only six of the twelve Olympic team members were able to join the camp.
“We don’t have the other three yet, but at this point it’s the same,” Popovich said. “Even if you can’t do it very well, you have to work hard to find a way to keep it in shape. Therefore, you need to figure out the common denominator for this exact group. The less you have, the more you reinvent the wheel. , The worst thing for this group. “
Middletons, Holidays, and Bookers will play in Game 6 of the NBA Finals on Tuesday night. If Milwaukee wins the game-Bucks leads Booker and Phoenix Suns 3-2 in the series on Middleton and Holiday-they win the NBA title. It also means that the trio may be in Japan by the weekend and give Americans time to join for at least one practice prior to the match against France.
If Phoenix forced Round 7, it would be Thursday night, the day before the opening ceremony in Tokyo, and three days before the US-France match. Performing harsh playoffs can be daunting enough for players. Performing harsh playoffs followed by half the world’s flights is not a fresh foot recipe. Therefore, no one knows how effective Middleton, Holidays and Bookers will be when they arrive in Japan.
Popovich doesn’t know what to expect.
“I can’t think of anything. You know, I’m not trying to be a grib. I’m completely transparent,” Popovich said. “We thought” Will they cause jet lag? Will they be okay, like two days after they land? … In a sense, it may depend on whether everyone else is healthy. If not, you need to play. So we have overcome many scenarios. We don’t understand it yet, it’s for sure. “
And that’s unusual, and Popovich has lost the answer.
“He takes it very seriously,” said Johnson, who plays for Popovich with the Spurs.
The five-time NBA Champion as a coach in San Antonio has matched his wisdom with 11 different members of the Basketball Hall of Fame during his career. Spurs won 60% of these games. This is a flashy way of saying that the best spirit of teaching a game loses 3 out of 5 times facing Popovich. He has a history with answers.
But when he heads to Tokyo, even he is still worried because of the Olympics in the midst of a pandemic, with no fans or a quarter of the roster. Moreover, the opening round of the United States in Tokyo is not an easy task. France is the team that kicked the United States out of the medal battle at the 2019 Basketball World Cup in China, a tournament where Popovich debuted as head coach of the American program.
And Popovich usually doesn’t reveal anything by chance, but said Sunday night that Americans were preparing for France for “two years.” This clearly nods to what happened in China.
“It’s a long way to go,” Popovich said. “And it’s not that long because we have another week to play … I think it’s great because we need that time, so hopefully we’ll continue to improve during that week and it’s very You will be ready to play against a good French team. “
Zach LaVine not with Olympic basketball team on flight to Tokyo – Press Telegram Source link Zach LaVine not with Olympic basketball team on flight to Tokyo – Press Telegram