Derrick Rose, Kyrie Irving

Kyrie Irving and Derrick Rose could alternate starts for Team USA


Team USA is absolutely stacked at point guard.

Stephen Curry is playing off the ball, and Damian Lillard didn’t even make the team. That leaves Kyrie Irving and Derrick Rose battling to start in the World Cup.

Both have allies on the coaching staff. Irving played for Team USA head coach Mike Krzyzewski at Duke, and Rose plays for Team USA assistant Tom Thibodeau with the Bulls.

So who will win the position battle?

Marc Stein of ESPN:

‎Kyrie Irving will start opposite Goran Dragic at point guard Tuesday night when Team USA plays Slovenia in its final tuneup game leading into the FIBA World Cup.

But Team USA coach Mike Krzyzewski, in tabbing Irving as his starter against the Dragic-led Slovenians, told that one option under consideration is letting Irving and Derrick Rose trade ‎off as the starter throughout the tournament, which opens Saturday in Bilbao with the Yanks facing Finland.

“We’ll see as thing goes on,” Krzyzewski said after Monday’s two-hour practice. “We might alternate ’em. Both of them are going to play significant minutes.”

I wouldn’t really read much into Irving starting against Slovenia. Andre Drummond and DeMar DeRozan received DNP-CDs in a friendly against Brazil, and that seemed to foreshadow them getting cut. But both made the roster.

It still seems 50-50 between Irving and Rose once the World Cup begins, and I trust Krzyzewski that both will receive plenty of playing time. There’s probably no wrong answer when it comes to picking a starter.

Team USA’s backcourt is ridiculously strong regardless.

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.