Julius Randle won’t be going to the Olympics in Tokyo with Team USA this summer, but he was “right there” on the cusp of making the roster.
New York Knicks fans won’t get to watch Julius Randle at the Olympics this summer. The All-NBA big man was left off of the Team USA roster despite the fact that he had made a strong case for himself with his breakout season.
According to USA Basketball executive director Jerry Colangelo, Randle was “right there” for a spot. He cited Kevin Love’s international experience as a reason for him making the roster.
The Knicks' Julius Randle was "right there" for an Olympic roster spot, @usabasketball executive director Jerry Colangelo said.
Kevin Love's international experience was key in his selection, Colangelo said. Love, Draymond Green and Kevin Durant are previous gold medalists.
— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) June 28, 2021
“It’s because of his international experience. Yes it’s true. He hasn’t played much of anything these last few years. But, his versatility is valuable up front.”
Colangelo on why Team USA chose Kevin Love over Julius Randle.
— Evan Dammarell (@AmNotEvan) June 28, 2021
Julius Randle is a much better player than Kevin Love at this point in time. There is no question about it. Randle is an All-NBA forward while Love is an afterthought in Cleveland. In fact, Love isn’t even the best American on his NBA team. It’s hard to see the logic in taking a worse player to the Olympics.
However, let’s try and give Colangelo the benefit of the doubt here. This USA Basketball roster is highlighted by inexperience and first-time Olympians. Adding Love, a former gold medal winner, could help the team behind the scenes as they prepare for a deep run into the Olympics.
Although Team USA is going to be a heavy favorite to win, there will always be doubt in the minds of the USA Basketball brain trust following the bronze medal finish at the 2004 Olympics in Athens. Colangelo is hoping Love’s Olympics experience can help USA Basketball avoid another embarrassment like that.
It looks like Randle’s Olympic dreams need to be put on hold for the time being, but there is still a small chance he gets the call this summer. Devin Booker, Jrue Holiday, and Khris Middleton are all still playing in the NBA Playoffs. If any of those guys drop out of the Olympics, Randle could be an option for USA Basketball.
On the bright side for Knicks fans, RJ Barrett is competing for Canada Basketball this summer as they try to secure a spot in Tokyo through an Olympic Qualifying Tournament.