Kawhi Leonard Is Officially Withdrawing From Team USA And NBA Champion Derrick White Has Been Named His Replacement

Brian Babineau. Getty Images.

Well that's unfortunate! Granted I'm not all that surprised because frankly I didn't even know Kawhi was actually healthy enough to play in the first place. I feel like it's been forever since we've seen him on a basketball court, and in some ways it may have been more shocking if he actually did play during the Olympics. When healthy there's no denying Kawhi's two way dominance, but at this stage of his career if he's not 1000% healthy (I'm assuming that's what this is) then there's no reason to risk it. If I'm the Clippers I definitely don't want him playing if he's not right considering how important he is to that team.

The good news is this is why Team USA formed their own version of the Avengers. Would it be nice to have Kawhi in the mix? Obviously. He's incredible. But the thing about this roster is he's just a bonus. A cherry on top if you will to a basketball sundae that should still run through the rest of the world even without Kawhi. Talk about an embarrassment of riches. 

When it comes to the replacement options, I for one think Bald Derrick White is a fantastic option. Not only does he have Team USA experience, but he's also one of the best two way players in the entire NBA (fact, not opinion)

Having the Stock Exchange with Jrue/Derrick back in action for Team USA is awesome given how dominant they were as a championship backcourt this season, and it's pretty crazy that 25% of Team USA is now made up of the NBA Champion Boston Celtics. It's like 2019 all over again but way better. And while part of me was a little surprised Grant Hill didn't go with another fellow champion since they're losing a two way wing with size 


given the rest of the roster construction of Team USA either guy works in my opinion. I could even make the case that one of them should have made it over Kawhi anyway, but that's a different story for a different time. Now that we know it's Derrick, I have no doubt he'll fit right in. He's not only the ultimate glue guy, but he's also really fucking good. You need someone to fill a role and thrive? That's Bald Derrick. You need someone to shut the water off on the perimeter while also protecting the rim at an NBA best level who can also space the floor and shoot 40% from deep? Derrick's got you. 

With KD out with a calf strain and now Kawhi withdrawing, we're really starting to see the transition into the new era of NBA stars which also is very awesome. This is just more of an opportunity for guys like Tatum, Ant, Booker etc to take the reins from the old guard and establish themselves as the next wave of dominant Team USA Olympians. It was bound to happen at some point, and it now looks like we're finally here.