Jerry Colangelo: USA Basketball ‘looking to select the best team, which are not necessarily the best players’

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USA Basketball officially announced the trimming of this summer’s list of participants to 16 players, after the conclusion of training in Las Vegas and in advance of the same in Chicago which will begin next week.

John Wall, Bradley Beal and Paul Millsap were all cut from the group for somewhat obvious reasons, but select team big man Mason Plumlee reportedly having the inside track on making the squad over DeMarcus Cousins isn’t as easy for many to understand.

Jerry Colangelo, USA Basketball National Team Managing Director, made a veiled reference to this while being quoted in the organization’s official release.

“We’ve said all along that we would be proud to have any of the players who were in Las Vegas represent USA Basketball and the United States,” Colangelo said. “This phase of the selection process was extremely difficult and very thorough, and it’s worth again mentioning that we are looking to select the best team, which are not necessarily the best players.”

There are additional biases evident in USA Basketball selections; showing a consistent level of past commitment to the organization has proven to be advantageous, as has previous experience playing under Mike Krzyzewski at Duke University.

Plumlee qualifies to be in the latter category, obviously, but has also shown in camp to be a better fit on the defensive end of the floor than Cousins. That more than anything will determine whether one or both of them ends up on the final roster, which is what Colangelo was trying to point out by reiterating this statement.

The updated roster is listed below.

NAME                               POS          HGT       WGT            DOB             TEAM / COLLEGE                                   

DeMarcus Cousins           C             6-11       270           8/13/90        Sacramento Kings / Kentucky

Stephen Curry                   G             6-3          185           3/14/88        Golden State Warriors / Davidson

Anthony Davis                 F/C           6-10       220           3/11/93        New Orleans Pelicans / Kentucky

DeMar DeRozan               G             6-7          216           8/07/89        Toronto Raptors / USC

Andre Drummond           C             6-10       270           9/10/93        Detroit Pistons / Connecticut

Kevin Durant                      G             6-9          230           9/29/88        Oklahoma City Thunder / Texas

Kenneth Faried                 F              6-8          228         11/19/89        Denver Nuggets / Morehead State

James Harden                   G             6-5          220           8/26/89        Houston Rockets / Arizona State

Gordon Hayward             F              6-8          210           3/23/90        Utah Jazz / Butler

Kyrie Irving                         G             6-3          191           3/23/92        Cleveland Cavaliers / Duke

Kyle Korver                       G/F          6-7          212           3/17/81        Atlanta Hawks / Creighton

Damian Lillard                    G             6-3          195           7/15/90        Portland Trail Blazers / Weber State

Chandler Parsons             F              6-9          227         10/25/88        Dallas Mavericks / Florida

Mason Plumlee                F              6-11       235           3/05/90        Brooklyn Nets / Duke

Derrick Rose                       G             6-3          190         10/04/88        Chicago Bulls / Memphis

Klay Thompson                 G             6-7          205           2/08/90        Golden State Warriors / Washington State

PBT Extra: What coaches are on hot seat? Alvin Gentry at front of list.

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This season, for the first time in 46 years, no NBA coach will be fired during the season (nobody is getting canned at this point).

However, once the off-season starts, there will be a few changes.

Alvin Gentry in New Orleans and Fred Hoiberg in Chicago are the names most mentioned, but there will be an unexpected firing somewhere around the league. Some GMs are on the hot seat also (Rob Hennigan in Orlando leads that parade).

I get into all of it in this latest PBT Extra.

Raptors’ Serge Ibaka, Bulls’ Robin Lopez each suspended one game for thrown punches

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It was obvious this was coming. Get in a shoving match “fight” in the NBA and you get a fine. However, actually throw punches and…

Toronto’s Serge Ibaka and Chicago’s Robin Lopez each have been suspended for one game by the NBA “for throwing punches at one another during an altercation,” the league announced. What that works out to is a $120,715 hit for Lopez and a $111,364 ding for Ibaka.

Also, Raptors assistant coach Jamaal Magloire earned a $15,000 fine shoving the Bulls Nikola Mirotic and “acting as other than a peacemaker as part of the same altercation.”

This all came out of what seemed a rather innocuous play. Ibaka and Lopez were battling for rebounding positioning, it went on for a second after the ball went through the hoop, Ibaka caught Lopez with a little chicken wing elbow in the back, Lopez spun, and, boy, that escalated quickly. Lopez’s punch missed, while Ibaka’s caught Lopez in the hair more than the body.

Both men got technicals and were ejected.

Report: Sixers Joel Embiid “very likely” to undergo off-season surgery on knee

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When the Philadelphia 76ers formally announced they were shutting down Joel Embiid for the season, the team’s chief medical director Dr. Jonathan Glashow said:

“The assessment of Monday’s follow-up MRI of Joel Embiid’s left knee appears to reveal that the area affected by the bone bruise has improved significantly, while the previously identified meniscus tear appears more pronounced in this most recent scan.”

That meniscus may require off-season surgery, reports Marc Stein of ESPN.

As described, this would be a minor surgery that likely has a 4-6 week recovery period. That said, you know the Sixers will bring him along slowly after this. Also, that’s just time Embiid is not on a practice court or in a pick-up game with Ben Simmons, Dario Saric, and the rest of the team’s young core. That’s the time the foundations of chemistry on a team are built.

Embiid averaged 20.2 points and 7.8 rebounds per game despite a minutes restriction all season. He was incredibly efficient in getting his numbers — he had an All-Star level PER of 24.2 — and when he was on the court the Sixers outscored their opponents by 3 points per 100 possessions. He’s still likely a top three finisher in Rookie of the Year balloting despite playing in just 31 games.

Hopefully getting his knee cleaned up now means Embiid will be able to play in more games next season.

Report: Kevin Durant’s recovery going well, could return before end of season

Associated Press
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Back on Feb. 28, the Warriors’ leading scorer Kevin Durant suffered a grade 2 MCL sprain and a tibial bone bruise, an injury that happened when Zaza Pachulia fell into his knee. They planned to evaluate him at the end of the month, but this injury is often a 6-8 week issue, which would have him back around the start of the playoffs or in the first round.

The Warriors are optimistic it will be earlier than that, probably by the end of the season, reports Marc Stein and Chris Haynes of ESPN.

The Golden State Warriors aren’t scheduled to formally update the status of Kevin Durant’s left knee until next week, but there is cautious optimism within the organization that Durant — should he maintain his current recovery arc — will indeed be able to return to the court before the end of the regular season, according to league sources.

While noting that Durant is roughly at the halfway stage of his recovery journey, sources told ESPN.com that the Warriors are encouraged by the progress Durant has made in the 22 days since he suffered a sprained MCL and tibial bone bruise in his left knee on Feb. 28.

Durant was getting in some on-court work before the Warriors took on the Mavericks Tuesday.

The Warriors lost Durant at the start of their toughest schedule stretch of the season, and they stumbled some through that. However, after getting home (and playing some lesser teams in that stretch) the Warriors have gotten right, Stephen Curry is shooting well again, Matt Barnes and Patrick McCaw are playing well enough, and the Warriors have won five in a row. They are in the driver’s seat to be the No. 1 seed in the West (the biggest challenge to that is a road back-to-back in Houston and San Antonio next week, get a split there and the Warriors become tough to catch).

Between the end of the season and an easy first round — neither Denver nor Portland play enough good defense to slow the Warriors — the Warriors will have time to blend Durant back into the fold. If the Warriors can find their stride again with him, they are the favorites to hoist the Larry O’Brien Trophy in June.