Team USA wondered if Finals players would go to Tokyo
Devin Booker (1), Khris Middleton (22) and Jrue Holiday (21) just finished a grueling NBA Finals. Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Due to the late start to the NBA season, three members of Team USA had to delay their arrival in Tokyo to play in the NBA Finals. After a competitive and draining series, even the other Team USA players wondered if the three would keep their commitment.

According to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, members of Team USA watching the Finals speculated that Devin Booker, Jrue Holiday or Khris Middleton might try to back out of flying to Tokyo to join up with the team for the Olympics. The players wondered if the turnaround was too great, as the players had to fly in from Seattle for a game less than 24 hours after arriving, all less than a week after the NBA Finals.

Draymond Green said the fact that all three kept their commitments had won major respect from their Olympic teammates:

“I have a lot of respect for those guys for not only committing to do this but actually keeping their word. You’re talking about three true professionals, three extremely competitive guys that wouldn’t be on their way here if this didn’t mean something.

“We could’ve very easily got to the last game … and Devin Booker saying, ‘Man, we lost, I’m p--sed off, I’m out,’ or Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday saying, ‘We just won a championship, I want to celebrate and stay home with my family, I’m out.’ It’s on us to make sure that we do our parts to make sure they’re rewarded with what they ultimately came here for, which is to help us to compete and win a gold medal.”

Team USA could use the help. After a pair of early exhibition losses, confidence hasn’t been dented inside the camp, but questions were definitely raised on the outside. The three late-arriving players can only help at this point.

This article first appeared on Larry Brown Sports and was syndicated with permission.

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