Monday, July 22, 2024

Bill Simmons debates LeBron James vs. Jayson Tatum for Team USA Olympics starter

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The Team USA squad for the 2024 Olympics will be loaded. The team features several superstars including LeBron James, Jayson Tatum, Stephen Curry, and Kevin Durant. Of course, with multiple stars comes debate. Bill Simmons took to his podcast to discuss whether James or Tatum should start for the summer team.

Simmons began by making his proposition for Team USA’s backcourt and frontcourt lineup before proposing the question on Tatum and James.

“Edwards and Curry as the back-court, Embiid as the Center, and I think Durant starts because he has that long Olympics thing. Then the next question for me is, is it Tatum or is it LeBron starting, and I can’t imagine LeBron not starting,” Simmons said, via the Bill Simmons podcast.

Simmons’ guest, Ryen Russillo, said James would start, which prompted an elaborate response.

“Tatum’s not going to start? He just won the title. He’s in his prime, he’s like the perfect international player but I don’t think he starts. I think Durant and LeBron start over him. So it’s Embiid, Durant, LeBron, Edwards, Curry? Or does Kawhi get the Edwards spot? And they go Embiid, LeBron, Durant, Kawhi, Curry and they don’t have a two guard,” Simmons replied.

Bill Simmons brought up a valid point. Jayson Tatum is fresh off an NBA championship with the Celtics. In addition, Tatum made the All-NBA Third team after averaging 26.9 points, 8.1 rebounds, 4.9 assists, and 1.0 steals. However, LeBron James is also highly touted.

James has not seen as much success with the Los Angeles Lakers as he would like. Yet, he remains highly effective, as he made the All-NBA Third Team after the 2023-24 season.

It will be interesting to see how Team USA handles its talent problems ahead of an exciting Olympics.

Another Team USA is under fire from fans before the Olympics

One of the other interesting points Simmons brought up was the health status of Los Angeles Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard. Leonard missed most of the 2024 NBA Playoffs with yet another devastating injury. Thus, fans are upset that he has elected to play for Team USA. ClutchPoints’ Clippers Beat Reporter Tomer Azarly provided more insight on the matter.

“Kawhi Leonard is healthy enough to play with the Olympic team this summer, which is clearly a once in a lifetime opportunity. However, in recent weeks, fans have expressed their frustrations that Leonard is available to play for these Olympic Games, but not for the Clippers in the playoffs. In fact, Leonard has been affected by injury in four consecutive postseasons. He suffered the torn ACL during the 2021 playoffs, and the rehab also took him out of any availability for the 2022 play-in games which the Clippers lost,” Azarly wrote.

Fans were unhappy with Leonard’s newfound availability, but the star forward emphasized that his injuries were out of his control. He wanted to suit for Los Angeles in every postseason game he has missed. But unfortunately, he did not get a “perfect script.” Hopefully, Leonard stays healthy during his opportunity with Team USA. He, LeBron James, Jayson Tatum, and the rest of the team’s stout contributors will go for gold once again.

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