When the 2021 Olympics officially begin in Tokyo, Japan on July 22, the Team USA men’s basketball team will look a lot different. Some notable names that will not be on the roster include LeBron James, Stephen Curry, Carmelo Anthony, and James Harden. While Team USA at least on paper has arguably the most talented team it is clear that this 2021 Olympic roster is a lot less intimidating than the ones of the past.
Just nine years ago Team USA thrashed the Nigerian national team by 83 points during the 2012 Olympics. In their first exhibition against Nigeria this year, Team USA despite having a plethora of the NBA’s best talent suffered a historic upset.
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Precious Achiuwa Takes Savage Shot at Nets Kevin Durant
Nigeria defeated the United States by a score of 90-87. Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant led all Team USA scorers with 17 points in the loss. Durant’s lowest moment in the matchup against Nigeria came when Miami Heat forward Precious Achiuwa denied his shot clean at the rim as he was going up for a dunk.
Achiuwa added insult to injury after the loss and aimed at Durant on his Instagram page. He posted an image of him denying KD’s shot with the caption “You’re not that guy pal, trust me you’re not that guy.”
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Stephen A. Smith Under Fire for His Comments About Nigeria
ESPN analyst Stephen A. Smith had a lot to say about the United States’ loss to Nigeria given the amount of talent that they have. Some of his comments about the Nigerian national team landed him on the social media hot seat. Particularly his failure to pronounce the names of some of Nigeria’s players correctly.
“There’s no excuse to lose to Nigeria,” Smith said on Monday’s edition of ESPN First Take. “[To lose to] some dude Gabe Nnamdi, who goes by Gabe Vincent for the Miami Heat. Or Caleb Agada. Or Nma … however the hell you pronounce his name.”
Smith’s comments were met with a barrage of criticisms from Nigeria’s players who deemed Smith’s comments to be disrespectful to their culture.
Jerry Colangelo Explains Why Julius Randle Got Cut for Kevin Love
Team USA has an extremely talented roster ,there is no denying that, but at the same time it is evident that they could use the services of some of the players who were cut from the roster. One of those players is Knicks All-Star and 2021 NBA Most Improved Player Julius Randle. Randle was ultimately left off of the Team USA roster to make room for Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love. Team USA basketball director Jerry Colangelo explained the reasoning behind his decision once the final roster was announced.
“Regardless of who you select, there’s always a few names that come up regarding why they aren’t there, Randle was right there. He was one of our considerations. Especially when some of the injuries took place and we lost a few players,’’ Colangelo said per Marc Berman of the New York Post.
“He had a great year this year,’’ Colangelo said of Randle. “He’s come a long way. The best reason to say why Kevin Love as an extra big was because of his international experience. Yes, it’s true he hasn’t played much of anything in the last couple of years, but the skills he brings to the table and commitment he’s made to physical conditioning, he’s a versatile guy up front who can rebound and hit shots. Who’s to say how many minutes a guy will play? You’re not playing all 12 players. It was a matter of filling out the roster with role players. Randle was close.’’
Thankfully for Team USA their two losses have come in exhibition games that will not count towards the Olympics. They will however have to address their weaknesses if they hope to capture the gold medal in 2021.