44 players were named finalists to become members of the 2020 U.S. men’s basketball team on Sunday night. Chicago Bulls’ guard Zach LaVine was not one of them. Playing for the Chicago Bulls is rough enough as it is, but –come on — this just adds insult to injury. LaVine was already snubbed from the All-Star game this year, but that almost made sense. Almost.
Only 12 players from each conference make the All-Star teams, and LaVine had to work uphill to try to earn a reserve spot because the team he plays on is a hot, steaming pile of garbage. Erm, I mean rebuilding.
Not making the preliminary U.S. roster for 2020, though, is embarrassing for the 24-year-old LaVine, who is playing the best basketball of his young career and is one of the only bright spots on this Chicago Bulls team. This is not simply a snub. Jerry Colangelo, USA Basketball chairman, slapped Zach LaVine in the face when he said that the preliminary roster essentially has every top American name available.
Those names you’re seeing on Stein’s tweet? Those are some of the names Team USA is saying are more deserving of a possible Olympic spot than Zach Lavine.
Yes, that is the same Harrison Barnes averaging a whopping 14.5 PPG and 4.9 RPG.
Utah’s Mike Conley makes the list while averaging 13.5 PPG on 39 freaking percent shooting from the field.
Maybe it will come to be that Zach LaVine chose not to participate. That’s the only explanation that seemingly makes sense. If it ends up being Zach LaVine was available and open to it, but Team USA went, ‘Nah, let’s go with frickin’ JaVale McGee,’ then I’m livid.
Of course, none of this is to say LaVine would be likely to make the actual 12-man roster. There are a ton of names that are more capable players if they end up willing to actually play in the Olympics.
Mark my words, though: if the 2020 men’s USA Olympic basketball roster includes Mike Conley when LaVine was open to playing, I’m jumping into Lake Michigan in a full suit and tie.
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