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Paris Olympics: Kyrie Irving Snub Puts 24yo Star Under Severe Scrutiny

Published 04/18/2024, 1:04 PM EDT

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USA Today via Reuters

Dallas Mavericks point guard Kyrie Irving caught the attention of the NBA community when they found out that the 32-year-old was omitted from the 2024 USA Basketball Men’s National Team for the Paris Olympics. Just after USA Basketball announced the team, 2x NBA Champion Norris Cole and former NBA point-guard Brandon Jennings spit out their discontent on the roster. The NBA insiders suggested their opinions on considering better players for the National team in their latest appearance on the YouTube show Gil’s Arena.

Brandon Jennings commented, discussing the USA Men’s National roster for the Paris Olympics, “I think Kyrie should be on the team.” When the former NBA point guard was asked about the players that he would like to put off for getting Kyrie on the National team, he responded with the names of Tyrese Haliburton and Kwahi Leonard. 24-year-old Haliburton and Kyrie Irving play the same position for point guard, so Tyrese was the most replaceable player for Gil’s crew.

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Former NBA Champion Norris Cole also agreed with Brandon’s comment. He shared, “We know how Kyrie looks like against the world domination when he steps out there for Team USA. So I don’t get one iota why he ain’t on there.” However, Cole also revealed that players like Haliburton, Tatum, and Booker were added to the roster, forming the young core of the Olympics team.

The support from former NBA players for Irving is clear, as the Mavericks guard has helped win two golds while representing the senior team USA side. The first one was won at the 2014 World Cup and claimed the second one at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

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How did Tyrese Haliburton replace Kyrie Irving?

Indiana Pacers player Haliburton has averaged 20.1 points, 10.9 assists, and 3.9 rebounds in the current season. However, Mavericks gem Kyrie Irving has averaged 25.6 points, 5.2 assists, and five rebounds on a 50/41/ 91 shooting split. Meanwhile, the “Dream Team” for the Paris Olympics has a pool of players selected specifically to foster defense. “Defense was certainly a priority. …Rebounding is something we struggled with [in the World Cup],” USA Basketball MD Grant Hill said after the team announcement.

USA Today via Reuters

Considering the defense strategy from Hill, Haliburton certainly had the upper hand over Kyrie Irving for the Olympics spot. The former is 1.96m tall in comparison to the latter’s 1.88m height. Apart from that, Haliburton is the young gun of the National team, as the senior roster is already filled with star players like LeBron James and Stephen Curry, among others.

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Kyrie Irving might be more skilled than Haliburton at the time, but the USA team will face different challenges at FIBA. Serbian Storm Nikola Jokic is one of the best players in the league. Therefore, more muscles and greater agility will be required to tackle the team’s way up to the Gold at the Paris Olympics.

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Written by:

Krishna Shukla

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Krishna Shukla is an NBA Writer at Essentially Sports. After working extensively across different divisions at ES, his love for Kobe enticed him into the world of basketball. He specializes in reconstructing basketball podcasts in his writing, along with writing injury reports.
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Edited by:

Shivatmika Manvi