After just three exhibition games with Team USA, Bradley Beal is now going to miss the Tokyo Olympics due to health and safety protocols.
Beal had been a starter in every game he wore the United States uniform, and his absence leaves a major hole for USA Basketball to fill before heading to Japan for the summer games. There are a few solid options to replace the three-time All-Star, but it won't be easy filling the void he'll leave.
Darius Garland, Cleveland Cavaliers
If Gregg Popovich wants to stay in-house and keep the guard depth they have on the roster, Garland could be the choice. He's coming off a strong second season with the Cavs and has already played with the senior team as a replacement for Devin Booker, Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday. Of the USA select team members, Garland is probably the best of the bunch.
Saddiq Bey, Detroit Pistons
Bey's another option to promote from the select team after making All-Rookie this season and playing with the senior team in exhibitions. Bey is a 3-and-D wing who can guard four positions and doesn't need the ball in his hands as much as the superstars already on the roster, so the fit is certainly there.
Julius Randle, New York Knicks
Once Booker, Middleton and Holiday join the team following the NBA Finals, the U.S. will be overflowing with talented guards. Beal's absence gives Popovich a chance to add some more depth to a big man rotation consisting of Bam Adebayo, Draymond Green and Kevin Love.
Adebayo and Green provide similar contributions, while Love is the floor spacer who hasn't looked very good through the early portion of the team's exhibition schedule. Randle could come in and provide a scoring punch in the post if that's the kind of thing Popovich wants.
Ja Morant, Memphis Grizzlies
The only true point guard on Team USA is Damian Lillard, and he's more of a shoot-first guard at that rate anyway. The U.S. could look for a player who gets everyone involved and Morant would certainly fill that particular need. He puts tremendous pressure on the rim and displayed an advanced understanding of how to manipulate defenses to find teammates open looks this past season.
Russell Westbrook, Washington Wizards
One Wizards star is no longer on Team USA, so why not replace him with another? Westbrook won gold with the U.S. in the Rio Olympics in 2016 and could return for back-to-back golds this year. Of all the guards currently on the roster, Westbrook brings some up-tempo playmaking flare that could benefit all the talented scorers on the wings.
Trae Young, Atlanta Hawks
Young proved every skeptic he had wrong during the playoffs, leading the Hawks to the conference finals and within two games of an NBA Finals berth. Young suffered a foot injury in that series against the Bucks and would have to be healthy to play in Tokyo, but if he is, he'd provide the kind of playmaking and pick-and-roll potency this team could certainly use.
Marcus Smart, Boston Celtics
Smart played with Team USA during the FIBA World Cup in 2019 and could seemingly return without much of an adjustment. He's an elite defender, solid playmaker and wouldn't command the number of shots Young or Morant would if they were to join Team USA.
Joe Harris, Brooklyn Nets
Another former FIBA participant who's used to playing off of elite scorers, Harris would give the U.S. even more floor spacing than they already have. Popovich has a lot of great shooters at his disposal, but none of them are like Harris, where knocking down threes off the catch is the essence of his game.