Team USA Roster Set for Tokyo Olympics Betting Analysis
It’s a complicated process. With a shortened offseason due to the NBA’s desire to get back to its regular schedule of an October start for the next season, combined with the late playoffs this betting season, finding players who are willing to forego an additional month of rest to play in the Olympics is challenging.
LeBron James had already opted out, instead of focusing on his summer movie release.
Stephen Curry has also chosen not to play, although until recently, he had been thinking about it. Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell withdrew to heal his ailing ankle. And the Nets James Harden, just two days after saying yes to being an Olympian in Tokyo, now says no. He wants to focus on recovering from the injury that sidelined him during the playoffs.
So without a ton of star power, Gregg Popovich’s squad is set, barring any further injuries or changes.
Team USA Roster
|Bam Adebayo||Miami Heat|
|Bradley Beal||Washington Wizards|
|Devin Booker||Phoenix Suns|
|Kevin Durant||Brooklyn Nets|
|Jerami Grant||Detroit Pistons|
|Draymond Green||Golden State Warriors|
|Jrue Holiday||Milwaukee Bucks|
|Zack Levine||Chicago Bulls|
|Damian Lillard||Portland Trail Blazers|
|Kevin Love||Cleveland Cavaliers|
|Khris Middleton||Milwaukee Bucks|
|Jayson Tatum||Boston Celtics|
Of the players heading to Tokyo, nine of them are first-time Olympians. The players with experience playing for Team USA are Kevin Durant (2012 and 2016), Draymond Green (2016) and Kevin Love (2012).
Khris Middleton, Jayson Tatum and Jerami Grant have all participated in other international tournaments as a representative of the United States, but not the Olympic Games.
Getting Durant to come back for a third Olympic Games is a bit of a coup for Popovich. Following Milwaukee’s Game 7 win that eliminated the Nets and Durant from the playoffs, Bucks MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo called Durant, the “best player in the world.”
It’s worth noting that Greece has to get past a qualifying tournament in Canada to get into the Olympics but will have to do it without that nation’s best player. The qualifying tournament starts on June 29, the same day Antetokounmpo will be playing Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals.
Possible Scheduling Conflicts
Of note on this list are three players that are still currently alive in the postseason – Middleton and Jrue Holiday of the Bucks and Devin Booker of the Suns. They will be the ones to watch because if the NBA Finals were to go the full seven games, they would end on July 22.
The first game for Team USA in Tokyo is July 24 (the 25th in Japan). So imagine a long and grueling playoffs ending in Milwaukee, and then three players all jumping on a plane for the long flight to Tokyo and then being ready to play 48 hours later.
Booker is one of the true rising stars of the NBA, so everyone is hoping that he still makes it to Tokyo. Holiday is coming off a 33-point performance in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals after closing strong in the Bucks win over Brooklyn. The 11-year veteran will be a significant asset. So will eight-year vet Middleton, who averaged 24 points against the Nets and put up 38 when facing elimination in Game 6.
The men’s Gold Medal Game in Tokyo is scheduled for August 7. The USMT basketball team enters as heavy-duty field favorites, with their sportsbook odds currently at -515 — implying over an 80% chance of the men shipping the gold medal.
Chris Paul Likely to Return For Game 3
Suns guard Chris Paul declined an invitation to be a part of the Olympic team, but it does look like he will at least return to his NBA team in time for Thursday night’s Game 3 against the Clippers. Paul missed the first two games of the Western Conference Finals because of the NBA’s health and safety protocols that followed a positive test for COVID-19.
Chris passed a cardio test on Wednesday — one of the requirements for reinstatement — and because he had been vaccinated, his quarantine time was less than the 10-14 days of unvaccinated players. Paul has been asymptomatic since his positive test, and it is still unclear where he caught the virus.
The Suns are up on the Clippers 2-0 after a thrilling last-second game-winner by DeAndre Ayton on Tuesday, and getting their leader back will surely provide an even bigger spark as the series shifts to Los Angeles, where Paul played for six seasons.
Reports of Paul’s return have bolstered the odds on the Suns, who went from a short underdog to a 1½ -point favorite according to NBA betting lines. The Suns also boast a dominant -750 price tag to advance, according to the sportsbook series odds.