2020 Olympics: Beal to miss Tokyo games, Grant in COVID-19 protocol


USA Basketball announced Thursday that Washington Wizards goaltender Bradley Beal will not be playing at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo due to coronavirus protocols he has been in since yesterday. Based on USA Basketball’s tweet, it looks like he likely tested positive for the coronavirus.

Unfortunately, there is more bad news for Team USA. Detroit Pistons forward Jerami Grant is also in health and safety protocols, although he has not yet tested positive for the coronavirus, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported earlier that USA Basketball is looking for a replacement for Beal.

Either way, if two Team USA men’s team players are on protocols, it’s possible that more will be on protocols in the coming days, regardless of vaccination or testing status. This could put the USA’s friendly against Australia tomorrow in a sticky position.

The men’s team’s first Olympic game will be on July 25 at 8 a.m. ET when they face France. Since it’s not uncommon for a player to have to sit down around two weeks after contracting the coronavirus (we’re going to assume Beal is infected here), Beal would be out until the end of July. The Americans face Iran on July 28 for their second group game.

So who could replace Beal and / or Grant? Here are some of the best possible selections from the initial player pool:

  • Stephen Curry, G, Golden State Warriors –He is the NBA’s top scorer and would give the Americans a clear three-point shot threat in addition to Kevin Durant. I know Curry said he wouldn’t be playing last June … but people can change, and it might be a chance for him to change his mind.
  • Andre Drummond, C, Los Angeles Lakers –He averaged 14.9 points and 12.0 rebounds last season in all of his appearances with LA and the Cavaliers. It would add some necessary size to the range.
  • Blake Griffin, F, Brooklyn Nets – He didn’t put up the big numbers he did earlier in his career, but he still adds size and shot to the team’s lineup.
  • Dwight Howard, C, Philadelphia 76ers – Howard is no longer in his prime, but is still a very good defender of low positions and would provide a size the Americans don’t have enough of.
  • Russell Westbrook, G, Washington Wizards – WHY NOT?

Again, anyway, this is bad news for Team USA and also for the players involved.

Finally, I leave you all with this question as a community. If there are no Wizards players on the USA Basketball Men’s National Team at the start of the Olympics (since there could be a situation where Westbrook is on the team in theory), do you want always that we recap their matches? Initially, I intended to do so. But if Beal is out and unless Westbrook arrives at the last minute, I don’t see the point in recapping their friendlies or their Olympics.

Internationally / Olympic, I prefer to focus more on the women’s tournament. The USA Basketball Women’s National Team includes Washington Mystics players Tina Charles and Ariel Atkins. Australia are also a threat for the gold in the women’s tournament with Leilani Mitchell as one of their contributors. And we still have to see how Belgium is doing with Emma Meesseman.

In men’s basketball I would always be interested in Japan with Rui Hachimura, Germany with Issac Bonga and even the Czech Republic with former Wizards Tomas Satoransky and Jan Vesely there.

And that doesn’t include the fact that the NBA Draft is approaching us quickly too!

Let me know in the comments below on this sad Thursday.

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