It was one of our big questions heading into the Chicago training camp for Team USA — who would start and get the minutes in place of Paul George and Kevin Durant.
In the case of George at the three, the obvious answer was always James Harden and that seems to be where Coach Mike Krzyzewski is headed. (Yes, Harden at the three, Team USA is playing small as it did winning its last couple gold medals.)
At the four… still trying to figure that part out according to Marc Spears of Yahoo Sports.
Three guys on that list are not a shock. From the first day of camp Coach K had raved about Anthony Davis as the center for the type of ball they wanted to play, and Stephen Curry has always been at the two in the top units (it makes sense in international ball where shooting is a premium). Early on Kyrie Irving was getting the start at the one but Derrick Rose’s play pushed him here, plus now with Durant out they need scoring and Rose brings that.
As for the final starting spot, and looking at the guys on the roster, there are only three clear options to me: Rudy Gay, Gordon Hayward and Chandler Parsons. None of those thrill me, but with Davis at the five and an up-tempo offense those are the fits (then you can bring in DeMarcus Cousins with the second unit and change tempo if you want).
Of that group, I’d probably start Parsons, his versatility is the best fit in my mind. But Coach K doesn’t have to make that decision yet — that’s what exhibitions like Saturday against Brazil are for. Roll out a lot of different combinations and see what clicks. The USA has a couple weeks of practices and a few exhibition games to figure things out before settling on a starting five.
By the way, that Rose is starting is a sign of how well he’s playing. Smile Chicago fans.
After missing two entire seasons, all signs are pointing to 2014 No. 3 overall pick Joel Embiid finally taking the court this season. Last week, Sixers coach Brett Brown said that Embiid has looked great in his workouts and is on track to play in the preseason, and Embiid himself echoed that sentiment over the weekend. He told the Philadelphia Inquirer‘s Marc Narducci that he feels “100 percent.”
There’s always a possibility and fear that Embiid’s recurring foot problems will come back, but for now, all indications are that he’s feeling good and will be able to contribute this season, which should make Sixers fans excited.
The release of NBA 2K17, the latest edition of the popular 2K video-game series, is less than a month away. Players are starting to get their likenesses in the game, as well as their player ratings, and tweet them out. Magic forward Evan Fournier wasn’t too happy with the way his came out.
Fournier’s countryman Rudy Gobert got in on the fun, too, changing his Twitter avatar to Fournier’s screenshot and encouraging others to do the same. He even created a hashtag for it.
At least they’re having fun with it.
On Friday, the Jazz traded German center Tibor Pleiss to the Sixers along with two second-round picks for Kendall Marshall. The big draw of the trade for Philly was the picks, and Pleiss is not expected to stay with the Sixers, according to Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia’s Jessica Camerato.
Pleiss had a forgettable season with Utah, and the Sixers have a glut of bigs including Nerlens Noel, Jahlil Okafor, Joel Embiid and Dario Saric. It would have been virtually impossible for Pleiss to crack the rotation, and it’s unlikely another team picks up his contract, which has $3 million guaranteed this season.
As a Jordan Brand athlete, Russell Westbrook is under the same Nike umbrella as former teammate Kevin Durant. But his latest Jordan spot, released Friday, has a very pointed tagline: “Some run, some make runways.”
Given the circumstances, it’s hard to interpret that as anything other than a reference to Durant signing with the Warriors and Westbrook signing an extension with the Thunder.