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Team USA’s Bad Luck Continues

What next?

NBA: Washington Wizards at Philadelphia 76ers
Jun 2, 2021; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Philadelphia 76ers guard Seth Curry (rear) and Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal (front) battle for a loose ball during the second quarter in game five of the first round of the 2021 NBA Playoffs at Wells Fargo Center.
Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Bad luck just continues for Team USA. Bradley Beal will not be able to make Tokyo as he’s in Covid Protocol. So is Jerami Grant, although he apparently is in for contact tracing and not because he’s tested positive. Friday’s exhibition against Australia is off due to Covid worries.

And now Kevin Love has withdrawn, saying that his ankle is not sufficiently recovered.

So at least two players have to be replaced.

There’s a lot more that we don’t know than what we do know about putting this team together, but that said, we’d really like to see Zion Williamson get one of those spots if possible.

First, he’s capable of playing point, as the NBA learned this season and Duke fans already knew. Second, he’s versatile enough to play five positions. And third, it’s like having your own private Hulk because there is no one, anywhere in the world, who can match up with him. This would be even more true in the Olympics than it is in the NBA.

And don’t forget this: Williamson scores a lot of points on second chances and broken plays. You don’t even necessarily need to run plays for him. Our only concern would be that he plays defense at a high level. He did that at Duke but hasn’t done it so much in the NBA.

That said, he’d be a devastating weapon and, just as interestingly, a distraction for opposing coaches, who would have to start to factor him into every scheme and consideration.

Finally, we’d like to say how badly we feel for Beal. This has been a dream of his for his entire life and to get this close and have to give it up can’t be easy. Our best wishes to him and USA fans everywhere, we’re sure, appreciate his commitment and passion.