Brazil v United States

Kenneth Faried admits he was “extremely surprised” to get Team USA starting role


“He’s a rebounding specialist. He’s an energy specialist. So how does that fit in with the core group?” was what Team USA coach Mike Krzyzewski said to PBT of Kenneth Faried back when Team USA was in Las Vegas.

Those were the days before Kevin Durant left the team and changed the complexion of the roster. Back then Coach K was trying to figure out which three or four specialists would go around his core rotation. But when that rotation was blown up by KD’s decision Coach K turned to Faried and that energy to start.

Something Faried admitted he was “extremely surprised” to get, he told Aaron Lopez of

Scoring was never going to be the issue for Team USA, the roster is loaded top to bottom with guys who can score the rock. Maybe not like Durant, but they can score. What Faried brings in terms of being the glue guy with hustle and energy binds that together. It makes it a fit that works for the starting five, and leaves plenty of fire power off the bench.

As ESPN’s David Thorpe is fond of saying, energy is a skill. Not every guy brings it like Faried, and what he brings can help a team’s intangibles greatly (not to mention its rebounding).

Khris Middleton dunks, Jimmy Butler can’t stop him (VIDEO)

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Khris Middleton has more expectations and more pressure on him after a breakout season in Milwaukee, followed by him getting him PAID this summer.

Well, he looked pretty good on this play against the Bulls, making the steal then throwing down despite Jimmy Butler‘s efforts to stop him.

Middleton finished with 10 points on 5-of-7 shooting for the Bucks. However, Butler had the last laugh as he went off for 23 points on 12 shots and led the Bulls to the (meaningless) preseason win.

Somebody looks comfortable: Paul George drops 20 in first quarter

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Paul George‘s first experience starting as a power forward was going up against Anthony Davis — not just one of the best power forwards in the game, one of the handful of best players in the game period. That didn’t go well for George, and he wasn’t happy about it.

His second experience was in another preseason game Tuesday, going up against the Pistons and their four, Ersan İlyasova. He’s not quite as intimidating.

George scored 20 points on 7-of-8 shooting, 4-of-5 on threes — and that was just the first quarter (you can see it all in the video above).

As we have said before, George at the four is not a bad call by the Pacers, but some of that depends on the matchup. On the nights the Pacers face Davis or Blake Griffin or LaMarcus Aldridge or Zach Randolph (or a handful of others) the Pacers’ coaching staff is going to have to adjust. But there are a lot of nights where George at the four is going to force the other team to adjust, and that will play into the Pacers’ hands.