Team USA’s World Cup roster still has unprecedented star power

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No Blake Griffin.

No Kevin Love.

And now no Paul George.

Team USA has definitely lost significant talent since releasing its initial World Cup player pool.

Still, the team’s star power remains unprecedented.

There’s no perfect measurement for star power, but All-NBA selection is as good as any. Team USA still has two All-NBA first teamers (Kevin Durant and James Harden), a second teamer (Stephen Curry) and a third teamer (Damian Lillard).

Sure, Griffin and Love, both second teamers, and George, a third teamer, will be missed. But a lot of talent remains.

Remember, this is not an Olympic year, when Team USA draws its biggest stars. The American World Cup roster compares very favorably to past editions for the event (nee the World Championships).

Here’s how many All-NBA players from the year prior made the Team USA World Cup/World Championships roster since NBA players began competing in 1994. First teamers are red, second teamers blue and third teamers white.

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2014

  • Kevin Durant (first)
  • James Harden (first)
  • Stephen Curry (second)
  • Damian Lillard (third)

2010

  • Kevin Durant (first)

2006

  • LeBron James (first)
  • Elton Brand (second)
  • Dwyane Wade (second)
  • Carmelo Anthony (third)

2002

  • Jermaine O’Neal (third)
  • Paul Pierce (third)
  • Ben Wallace (third)

1998

None (NBA players, anticipating a lockout, elected not to participate.)

1994

  • Kevin Johnson (second)
  • Shawn Kemp (second)
  • Derrick Coleman (third)
  • Shaquille O’Neal (third)
  • Mark Price (third)
  • Dominique Wilkins (third)

So how should we compare seasons? I use a simple scoring system that follows All-NBA voting – five points for first team, three points for second team and one point for third team.

With 14 points, the 2014 class leads.

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Of course, Jerry Colangelo hasn’t made his final cuts. I’m counting Lillard, and he might not even make the team. After all, with Curry, Derrick Rose, Kyrie Irving and John Wall, the Americans are absolutely stacked.

Which is the point.

LeBron James blows wide-open dunk (video)

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J.R. Smith (slightly out of context): “We don’t start paying attention until after All-Star break.”

Report: Raptors’ Delon Wright out a month

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Raptors guard Delon Wright dislocated his shoulder, but at least he won’t need surgery.

Raptors media relations:

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

The Raptors (11-5), off to a surprisingly strong start, are second in the Eastern Conference. They’ve bought themselves margin for error. All in all, a month-long absence for Wright isn’t so bad.

Wright had been a key part of an excellent all-bench unit that included Fred VanVleet, O.G. Anunoby, C.J. Miles and Jakob Poeltl. Two-way player Lorenzo Brown has assumed Wright’s role, and Norman Powell – returning from his own injury – will provide a boost. Toronto can also stagger Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan more.

The chemistry of the bench mob was something to behold, but the Raptors should withstand this.

Report: Clippers PG Patrick Beverley out rest of season

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Clippers point guard Patrick Beverley underwent knee surgery – never a great sign.

The prognosis is about as bad as could be expected.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

This injury isn’t just a setback for this season. It could derail the Clippers’ long-term plan.

They’ve already lost nine straight, and Danilo Gallinari and Milos Teodosic are injured. If they fall further out of playoff position, they could become sellers before the trade deadline, especially with DeAndre Jordan ($24,119,025 player option for next season) and Lou Williams ($7 million salary on expiring contract).

Health was always the major question with this team, and it won’t soften as Blake Griffin and Danilo Gallinari age through lucrative contracts.

The final year of Beverley’s contract is guaranteed for just $5,027,028 next season, and the 29-year-old will spend most of the summer recovering from this injury. That salary is probably low enough that the Clippers will keep him without hesitation.

Until then, down a couple point guards, the Clippers have no choice but to continue leaning more on Austin Rivers. That also means greater roles for second-round rookies Jawun Evans and Sindarius Thornwell. That’s just too many players facing outsized responsibility.

The Pelicans, Grizzlies, Jazz and any other team competing for the final playoff spots in the Western Conference ought to feel better about their chances. They’re still competing with each other, and it’s doubtful all three make it. But Beverley’s injury helps clear the way.

The Clippers, who didn’t want to take a major step back after Chris Paul‘s departure, must confront an even more uneasy reality.

Giannis Antetokounmpo out for Bucks-Suns Eric Bledsoe revenge game

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Giannis Antetokounmpoone of the NBA’s best players – won’t help new Bucks teammate Eric Bledsoe in a revenge game against the Suns tonight.

Not only is Milwaukee missing Mirza Teletovic and John Henson (and Matthew Dellavedova and Jabari Parker), Antetokounmpo is out.

Matt Velazquez of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

Antetokounmpo will miss Wednesday’s game against the Phoenix Suns due to right knee soreness.

Antetokounmpo says his knee soreness is the same injury he dealt with in the off-season, which caused him to withdraw from the Greek national team.

“It feels good,” Antetokounmpo said after sitting out shootaround. “I’m just trying to be careful with it and not make any damage. That’s it, because it’s a long season and I’m trying to be careful.”

The Bucks have been outscored by 18.6 points per 100 possessions without Antetokounmpo this season (and are +2.3 without him). Phoenix isn’t good, but neither is Milwaukee without Antetokounmpo.

I don’t think Bledsoe will mind a chance to get more aggressive tonight, though.