Woj: Spurs' Keldon Johnson to Join Team USA for 2021 Tokyo OlympicsJuly 16, 2021
The loss of Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal and Cleveland Cavaliers big man Kevin Love from the USA Olympic men's basketball is reportedly the gain of San Antonio Spurs forward Keldon Johnson.
According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, Johnson has been named as a replacement player for either Beal or Love on Team USA. Denver Nuggets center JaVale McGee will reportedly fill the other vacant spot.
Wojnarowski reported earlier Friday that there was "significant support and momentum" behind Johnson being added to Team USA after performing well for the Select Team.
Wojnarowski added that Johnson is "well-conditioned and has developed into a favorite of decision-makers and staff."
There were two open roster spots on Team USA prior to Johnson and McGee reportedly being selected to fill them. Beal was removed after being placed in COVID-19 health and safety protocols, and Love pulled out of the Tokyo Olympics.
The 21-year-old Johnson starred at Kentucky before the Spurs selected him with the No. 29 overall pick in the 2019 NBA draft.
After having a somewhat limited role as a rookie, appearing in just 17 games, Johnson made significant strides this past season.
Starting 67 of the 69 games he appeared in, Johnson averaged 12.8 points, 6.0 rebounds and 1.8 assists. He also shot 47.9 percent from the field and 33.1 percent from the three-point line.
Although Johnson is only 6'5", he is a small forward who is willing to get into the paint and do work on the glass, which could be a welcome addition to a guard-centric Team USA.
The United States was already lacking in terms of big man depth before Love removed himself from the team, and Miami Heat center Bam Adebayo was the only true big on the roster before the addition of McGee.
With Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker and Milwaukee Bucks teammates Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday not yet with Team USA due to the NBA Finals, Johnson got the opportunity to play for Team USA in their exhibition games against Australia and Argentina.
In the 91-83 loss to Australia, Johnson finished with seven points on 3-of-5 shooting in 13 minutes. He played 14 minutes in the 108-80 win over Argentina, going 2-of-6 from the field for four points and adding five rebounds.
The Americans dropped their first two exhibition games to Nigeria and Australia, but they looked much better in the victory against Argentina and have reinforcements on the way in Booker, Middleton and Holiday.
Given the fact that Johnson has already been with the team and plays for Team USA head coach Gregg Popovich with the Spurs in the NBA, familiarity seemingly worked to his advantage in terms of seizing a roster spot for the Summer Olympics, which begin July 23.