Along with Devin Booker and maybe Deandre Ayton, nobody's NBA stock rose more this postseason than Trae Young's.
The Atlanta Hawks' now-certified superstar led a completely unexpected run to the Eastern Conference finals that may have gone further if not for a foot injury.
But he's not an Olympian. USA Basketball instead opted for Booker, Damian Lillard, Bradley Beal, Jrue Holiday and Zach Lavine for the upcoming Tokyo Games. To be honest, it's hard to find much beef with that talented backcourt cast, especially considering that James Harden, Stephen Curry and Donovan Mitchell opted out.
Should Young be on Olympic team?
Few would bat an eye, though, if Young had been selected for a reserve role rather than, let's say, Lavine. But now that Team USA is struggling in exhibition play, eyes are being batted at the team's roster construction. Young's included:
That ode to Isiah Thomas adds up to a less-than-subtle protest over being left off the Olympics roster. In case you're not familiar, that's Thomas on "The Last Dance" addressing his omission from the 1992 Olympic Dream Team roster — a decision that was widely believed to have been fueled by rival Michael Jordan.
Young, in the current scenario, is clearly Thomas. That begs the question. Who's the Jordan of 2021? Lillard, whose game some might argue that Young's emulates, is the best answer. But there's no evidence of any friction between the two. And while Young joyfully made his share of enemies this postseason, to suggest that somebody on Team USA's roster lobbied to keep him off is absurd.
No, it appears to be an imperfect albeit poignant analogy from Young who seems to simply be upset about not going to Tokyo. And while the Thomas video is prime use of social media, it's the timing of Young's tweet that really matters here.
Team USA has an open roster spot
Hours before Young made his case, Team USA announced that Beal will not play in Tokyo. Sadly, the Washington Wizards guard was placed in COVID-19 protocols on Wednesday and will miss out on a lifelong dream.
Beal's misfortune and ill health opens a roster spot on Team USA. The timing of Young's tweet suggests he has a good idea about who should fill it.
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