Andre Iguodala knows it's all about the defense for USA Basketball

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Iguodala_USA.jpgYou can go ahead and say the USA’s fortunate win over Brazil put their weaknesses on display for the world and showed why this team will be in trouble against the globe’s other elite squads.

The guys on the team can’t look at it that way. Andre Iguodala has been keeping a diary for the Philadelphia Daily News on his experiences with USA Basketball and he saw the win over Brazil as a good thing.

I think [the win] was really key for our group, knowing that we can get through anything. We were down in the first half but we just kept pushing . . . cut it down little by little . . . We’ve been down in games before . . . were down against Spain in an exhibition game. Those moments help you for those key moments in the important games.

He has to say that. He has to believe it. He can’t think the team he is on is fatally flawed.

And it’s not. Fatally, that is. It is flawed but it can overcome those flaws when it plays good defense. It did that by and large against Brazil, who could not miss early on.

Iguodala has also taken on a Kobe Bryant -like attitude about defense on this team.

I know my role on this team. The main thing is we got the win. All the other stuff doesn’t matter. It only matters what the score is at the end of the game. I had a job, which was to make it tough on [Leandro] Barbosa to score and he had to pull out his best moves to score in the second half.

I’ve known [my role] ever since being a part of the USA Basketball system, knowing that we’re going to have some great scorers. You got the Dwyane Wades and Kobe Bryants and on this team you got the Kevin Durants of the league. I feel like I can fit into any system no matter who I’m playing with. With this group, I feel like I go out there and try to shut down whoever their top scorer is.

His defense and that attitude are the one thing that would get the USA the Gold.

Carmelo Anthony says he can play at high level 4-5 more years

USA Basketball Men's National Team Training Camp

Carmelo Anthony can flat-out score the rock — that has never been the question. Even hurting last season for many of the 40 games he played, he averaged 24.2 points a game, had a true shooting percentage of 53.1 percent (right near the league average) while having the entire weight of the Knicks offense on his shoulders (32.2 usage rate, fifth highest in the NBA). When people (or players) talk about him being overrated, the discussion turns to defense or if he makes his teammates better. But there should be no doubt Anthony is an elite scorer.

He thinks he will be for a while longer — like another five years. Via Ian Begley of ESPN:

In fact, the 31-year-old Knicks star is confident that he can play at a high level for the next “four or five years.”

“Without a doubt. Without a doubt,” Anthony said after the Knicks’ final training camp practice on Saturday.

The Knicks better hope that’s true, they already made that bet with that massive five-year contract they gave him last summer.

Anthony’s age combined with him coming off knee surgery have a lot of people — myself included — expecting him to take a step back. Not a big one, but he is coming up at the point in his career where some open shots he used to get are now contested because he’s half-a-step slower, and some of those looks don’t fall as often. His jumper isn’t suddenly going to look like Rajon Rondo‘s, ‘Melo is going to get his points, but he may not be as efficient.

Fortunately, the Knicks have an improved supporting cast around him this season. That should take some offensive load off his shoulders, and maybe the Knicks offense will see better ball movement and start to resemble the triangle. If it’s just more isolation Anthony, it’s not going to be pretty.

Kings pick up option on G Ben McLemore

Ben McLemore, Rodney Hood
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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) The Sacramento have picked up the 2016-17 option on guard Ben McLemore‘s contract.

General manager Vlade Divac announced the move Saturday.

McLemore was Sacramento’s first-round pick in 2013. He averaged 12.1 points, 2.9 rebounds and 1.7 assists last season.