Milwaukee Bucks News: Brook Lopez, Khris Middleton among finalists for Team USA Olympic roster

LOS ANGELES, CA - AUGUST 17: (Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - AUGUST 17: (Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Brook Lopez and Khris Middleton of the Milwaukee Bucks are among the 44 finalists to make Team USA’s roster for the upcoming 2020 Olympic games in Tokyo.

While both Brook Lopez and Khris Middleton are in the thick of pursuing a championship with the Milwaukee Bucks this season, they may have busy summers once again.

On Monday morning, USA Basketball announced the 44 finalists that are in line to make this year’s Olympic Roster for the upcoming games set to take place in Tokyo and both Lopez and Middleton are among those that have a shot to represent their country.

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Of course, this comes six months after after both Lopez and Middleton played for Team USA during what ended up being an incredibly disappointing run at last year’s FIBA World Cup in China where they finished in 7th place.

It was the first time that both Lopez and Middleton represented their country and like Team USA’s overall run, both Bucks cornerstones encountered uneven runs during their respective stints in China.

Of the two, Middleton certainly played a more pronounced role for the Americans where he averaged 9.9 points on .438/.357/.929 shooting splits, along with 4.9 rebounds and 2.4 assists over 19.5 minutes per contest across his eight appearances.

As we’re seeing from his play this season, the two-time All-Star swingman took the experience of playing live basketball during the NBA offseason to heart and raised his game, just as he discussed during his Media Day session before the start of the 2019-20 season:

"“Usually during the summer time you’re working out by yourself in the gym or you’re just playing random pickup games. This summer, I was able to play real games and play high-level basketball for the last month. So I think that’s great preparation in some ways, rather than just being in the gym by yourself doing drills or playing open gym. It’s organized basketball against the world, so I don’t think it affected me in a negative way at all.”"

Lopez, on the other hand, didn’t experience the same benefits as his teammate and his time on the floor playing for Team USA was quite minimal in the large scope of things. Averaging 9.3 minutes per game over his seven appearances, Lopez posted just 2.6 points on .222/.158/.600 shooting splits, 1.9 blocks and 0.7 blocks.

And like Middleton, Lopez not being able to find his footing, or his shot, with Team USA has carried over into his run during the Bucks’ season so far. Still, the 31-year-old cherished the experience of being able to represent his country and play under the international spotlight as he talked about during Media Day:

"“Still, it was an incredible experience. I’m very thankful to have had the opportunity to be a part of the team and to partake in that experience. And it was the best group of guys, you couldn’t ask for a better group. And player-wise, coaching staff-wise, I think I learned a lot from everyone. It was a fantastic summer, it was a month-and-a-half, two months long, but it was an unforgettable experience that’s going to stay with me forever.”"

This time around, it’s far from guaranteed that both Lopez and Middleton will make the final roster this summer, especially as the numerous marquee players that passed over playing in last year’s World Cup are on this preliminary roster.

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Perhaps Middleton’s career year this season may elevate his chances of being able to get a second act of sorts, while Lopez has plenty of ground to make up in that regard. After all, both Lopez and Middleton as well as Team USA as a whole have something to prove.