Later this month, when Kevin Durant and Kevin Love lead 20 players into a Las Vegas training camp trying to make the Team USA squad for the FIBA World Cup in Spain in August, they practice against some of the best young players in the game.
Names of who will be on that USA Select team of young stars started to leak out Friday.
Marcus Smart, Doug McDermott, Victor Oladipo, Tobias Harris, and both Miles and Mason Plumlee received invites, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports.
Michael Carter-Williams got an invite but had to turn it down after a recent shoulder surgery, reports Marc Stein of ESPN. Other players certainly have been invited but we do not yet have the full list.
It’s an interesting group of names so far. McDermott has excelled at the Summer League in Las Vegas with a game that could do well in international play — he can certainly shoot with range, but he can also put the ball on the floor and has good court vision and IQ. Defense… well, he’s a rookie still with things to work on. Oladipo had a good rookie season, and the Plumlee brothers both provide size and mobility.
They are all about to get invaluable experience.
They are going to work out with and go up against the best players in the world — to see how they train, their mental focus, their understanding of the game. They will see what it takes to reach the highest levels.
For Coach Mike Krzyzewski and Team USA, it’s a chance to start evaluating young players who may be future parts of USA Basketball squads. Guys such as Kyrie Irving and DeMarcus Cousins, who are expected to be on the USA roster for Spain, started on this USA Select team.
On Monday, Dion Waiters agreed to a one-year, $2.9 million deal with the Heat, far less than most people thought he would get as one of the few significant free agents still on the market. Tuesday afternoon, he posted an explanation on Instagram for his deal.
Here’s what he said:
I didn’t do it for the money… I did it for the opportunity to go out & ball & have fun. Everything else will take care of its self!!! I just felt like it was the best situation for me…& my family. I could have waited & got wat I wanted. But I rather be happy then miserable at the end of the day!!! Meaning Yu can have everything & still not be happy… #heatnation let’s get it!!! #provethemwrong #stamped #Philly
It seems clear, based on the market, that the kinds of offers Waiters was hoping for weren’t out there for him. In Miami, with Dwyane Wade gone, he’ll probably start at shooting guard and have plenty of opportunities to prove himself in hopes of landing a long-term deal next summer.
While we wait for the Celtics to make a bigger move to trade for another star, they’re filling out the end of their roster. Sheridan Hoops’ Michael Scotto is reporting that they’ve signed Demetrius Jackson, the No. 45 pick in last month’s draft, to a four-year deal.
Jackson declared for the draft after his junior season at Notre Dame. Talent-wise, he has the chance to be a major steal for Boston — DraftExpress has him ranked as the 17th-best overall prospect in this year’s draft class. But he might not play much his first year. The Celtics’ roster is already crowded and there’s still the chance that they’ll make another move with some of their much-vaunted assets if the right star becomes available.
ATLANTA (AP) — The Atlanta Hawks have signed undrafted rookie free agent center Matt Costello of Michigan State.
The 6-foot-9, 245-pound Costello averaged 5.7 points and 5 rebounds on the Hawks’ summer league team in Las Vegas.
Costello averaged 10.7 points and 8.2 rebounds as a senior at Michigan State. He holds the school’s career record with 146 blocked shots.
Terms of the deal were not released.
Jamal Crawford knows how to get buckets.
He does it against NBA level defenders, so put him in a free-flowing pro-am — let’s say the Seattle pro-am in his hometown — and he barely breaks a sweat dropping 44. And nailing the game winner.
Doc Rivers hopes to see a lot of that next season.