As the USA Basketball mini-camp in Las Vegas winds to a close, a public scrimmage will be held featuring all of the players who have been in attendance since the beginning of the week.
The rosters have been set, and at least a couple of names will draw interest from the more casual observers trying to gain an insight as to who will make the final team that will compete in this summer’s FIBA World Championships. From the official release:
USA Basketball today announced the rosters for the USA Blue and USA White teams that will square off in the USA Basketball Showcase that will be held Friday, 6 p.m. (PDT) at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas. The USA White Team, led by 2012 Olympic gold medalists Kevin Durant (Oklahoma City Thunder) and James Harden (Houston Rockets), will go against the USA Blue squad led by 2012 Olympic gold medalist Anthony Davis (New Orleans Pelicans), and 2010 World Championship gold medalists Stephen Curry (Golden State Warriors) and Derrick Rose (Chicago Bulls) …
The USA White Team, coach by USA assistant coach and Chicago Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau, includes Bradley Beal (Washington Wizards); DeMarcus Cousins (Sacramento Kings); Andre Drummond (Detroit Pistons); Durant; Harden; Kyrie Irving (Cleveland Cavaliers); Damian Lillard (Portland Trail Blazers); Paul Millsap (Atlanta Hawks); Chandler Parsons (Dallas Mavericks); and Klay Thompson (Golden State Warriors).
The USA Blue Team, which will be led by USA assistant coach and New Orleans Pelicans head coach Monty Williams, includes Curry; Davis; DeMar DeRozan (Toronto Raptors); Kenneth Faried (Denver Nuggets); Paul George (Indiana Pacers); Gordon Hayward (Utah Jazz); Kyle Korver (Atlanta Hawks); Plumlee; Rose; and John Wall (Washington Wizards).
It’s only an exhibition, but just like last year, USA Basketball organizers will be looking for fit as well as production in the final event of the week’s training camp in advance of real competition later this summer.
It’s interesting that Plumlee and Cousins will be on opposing squads, but there’s no guarantee that they’ll actually face off against one another. And even if they do, the likely decision against including Cousins on the roster has little to do with his on-court performance.
Is this disrespectful to the Lakers? Absolutely.
And I love it.
Chris Paul and the Clippers crushed their Los Angeles counterparts, 133-109, last night. The Clippers, who’ve won 13 of 14 in the series, have practically run out of ways to show up their crosstown rival on the court. If it now takes bench visitors, so be it.
This is the best late-blowout bench behavior since LeBron James led the Cavaliers in the water-bottle challenge in a December win over the Knicks. This would rank higher if Chris Jr. didn’t also joined the bench in the Clippers’ November win over the Mavericks, which is the pictured on this post.
You’ve probably heard of the top college point guards for the 2017 NBA draft: Markelle Fultz, Lonzo Ball, Dennis Smith Jr., De’Aaron Fox and Malik Monk. You might have even heard of French point guard prospect Frank Ntilikina.
Which point guard will be drafted next after those six?
One possibility: Oklahoma State’s Jawun Evans.
Evan Daniels of Scout:
Evans looks like a second-round pick, but a dearth of point guards projected into the latter half of the first round could boost his stock.
He’s ultra quick and ultra aggressive and led the nation’s top KenPom offense. Evans relentlessly attacks the rim, often while forcing transition opportunities. That gets defenses scrambled, creating kickout-passing lanes and offensive-rebound opportunities.
However, the 6-foot Evans doesn’t finish that well at the rim – creating a major question about how he’ll translate to the NBA. The bigger defenders in the paint might limit his kickout passes, too.
His size also presents major problems defensively, though a 6-foot-4 wingspan at least helps.
Evans is good enough on jumpers to keep defenses honest, and at Oklahoma State, he had to create so much for himself. It’d be interesting to see whether limiting his burden improves his efficiency or whether his helpfulness is limited to having the ball in his hands.
My guess is the latter, and I’m unconvinced he’s good enough to demand such a role in the NBA. But the possibility is strong enough that I’d be excited about rolling the dice on him in the second round.
The Timberwolves surprisingly led the Spurs by nine at halftime last night, which takes us to Shabazz Muhammad‘s mid-game interview.
We’re doing a great job on defense, Wiggs, myself, everybody. It’s a tough team, especially Kawhi and the guys. So, we’re doing a really good job and everybody’s collective – Collective Bargaining Agreement.
To be fair, I can’t even imagine what type of nonsense I’d spew in the midst of a taxing workout or a high-pressure situation – let alone something that qualifies as both.
Unfortunately for Muhammad, Minnesota eventually fell to San Antonio, 100-93. But hopefully, he can laugh at this moment. He should, at least.
hat tip: reddit user cjsplash
Wednesday a couple of forwards expected to go in the first round of June’s NBA draft said they plan on making the jump to the NBA.
As expected, Duke’s Jayson Tatum and Cal’s Ivan Rabb made their decisions official.
Duke announced Tatum’s decision.
Tatum is expected to be a top-five pick, DraftExpress.com currently has him as the No. 4 pick. The 6’8″ wing can flat-out score the rock, which is why teams are intrigued, as Rob Dauster of NBC’s College Basketball Talk told us in a recent podcast. However, teams wonder if he can create shots for others and not just himself, and if he’s going to be a good defender at the NBA level. He has the physical tools to do be a good defender, but will he put in the work game in, game out?
Rabb is a 6’10” sophomore who has a great NBA build and athleticism to spare, but at the NBA level everyone is a great athlete. Rabb doesn’t have a great perimeter game and needs to develop one and be a consistent defensive force to be a difference maker (or have a lengthy career) at the NBA level. DraftExpress.com has him going 22nd in this draft, and his stock seems to have fallen over the course of the season.