Team USA’s quest for gold at the Tokyo Olympics got off to a terrible start with an opening loss to France that happened while Jerami Grant of the Detroit Pistons watched from the bench.
Team USA failed to score in the final 3+ minutes of the game, watching a seven point lead evaporate and turn into a seven point loss.
Jrue Holiday was just about the only member of Team USA to show up, as just about everyone else had an off game that led to the U.S. shooting just 36 percent as a team.
Part of this is because France is actually good (and will be a powerhouse in the future) but Team USA ultimately gave away the game behind an lackluster offense.
So far coach Gregg Popovich is taking the lion’s share of the blame, as people are not only questioning his rotations and lineups but also the rudimentary offense he has Team USA running.
One of the biggest question marks for me is why Jerami Grant was the one player on Team USA who did not get on the floor in the loss to France.
Detroit Pistons: Jerami Grant needs to play for Team USA
Jerami Grant seems like the ideal player for a Popovich-led Olympic team, as his slash and kick game is tailor-made for the international style of play.
Grant can also defend just about anyone on the floor, a fact Popovich did not take advantage of against France.
On one hand, I get it, Grant is behind some All-NBA talent in Kevin Durant and Jayson Tatum, both of whom the U.S. need to inject some life into their lackluster offense.
But Grant is a team player who doesn’t care about stats, so seems like the perfect guy to take on the tough defensive assignments for Team USA. With Evan Fournier lighting the U.S. up, it seemed like a good time to insert a defensive stopper who isn’t worried about getting shots.
Team USA also got killed on the boards, something Jerami Grant might have been able to help, as Pop’s 3-guard lineups were ineffective on the interior.
Pop did manage to get his own guy Keldon Johnson into the game, a player who isn’t half as talented as Grant and probably shouldn’t even be on the team.
I don’t know if Jerami Grant is the answer, but he certainly wasn’t the problem in Game 1, and Popovich had better figure it out before Team USA embarrass themselves again while the leader of the Detroit Pistons watches from the bench.