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Team USA Roster Starting To Firm Up

As Bradley Beal and Devin Booker say yes

2021 Play-In Tournament - Wizards v Celtics
 BOSTON, MA - MAY 18: Jayson Tatum #0 of the Boston Celtics and Bradley Beal #3 of the Washington Wizards fight for position during the 2021 NBA Play-In Tournament on May 18, 2021 at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. 
Photo by Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images

As we mentioned the other day, the compressed NBA schedule, due to Covid, means that the Olympic basketball prep schedule is also compressed. Some of the pieces are falling into place though as several players have now committed to Tokyo.

For Duke fans, the big news is Jayson Tatum is definitely in. So is Draymond Green and Damian Lillard and as of Friday, Bradley Beal is in and now it looks like Devin Booker is as well.

So at least Team USA won't have to worry about scoring. They’ll get plenty of that.

Jerry Colangelo and Mike Krzyzewski had several brilliant innovations when they took over the US program, among them having a pool of potential team members who were used to working together and also recognizing the importance of role players.

We saw this in different ways with Kobe Bryant and Jason Kidd. Kobe basically volunteered to be a defensive stopper and Kidd just didn’t bother to shoot, even passing up open layups for other guys.

So it’s great to have scorers but we’ll be interested to see who is asked to come as a role player and also what big men are invited and how much versatility is going. And of course we’ll be watching to see who else is invited at point guard. Apparently they are pursuing Chris Paul, which may or may not be a great idea. Paul has been superb in the playoffs but he is elderly by athletic standards and injury-prone.

However, he’d be a smart pick in other ways. First, he’s been there and knows what to expect in international competition. Secondly, he and Booker could be a plug-and-play backcourt. They know each other really well and obviously have been successful.