Derrick Rose, Anderson Varejao, Raulzinho Neto

Derrick Rose knows injury questions will keep coming. And coming. And coming.


Following the first Team USA training camp practice in Las Vegas, the media scrum around Derrick Rose was bigger than anyone else — bigger than Kevin Durant (then still with the team), Coach K, everyone. It wasn’t even close. And pretty much everything was a variation of the same question:

“How are your knees feeling?”

Those questions have continued after he looked good in practice, after he missed time due to soreness, after his role has decreased from starter to coming off the bench, after limited minutes in games, after questions about if he even should really be on the team.

Rose’s reaction? Those questions aren’t going to go away no matter what he does.

That’s what Rose told Marc Stein of ESPN in Spain the day before Team USA tips off in the World Cup against Finland.

Rose is going to need to put in minutes during the tight schedule for Team USA (and every other team) the first week of the World Cup. One of Team USA’s biggest advantages is depth — the guys at the end of the roster are top NBA players (your “worst” guard is DeMar DeRozan, who is a stud). But everyone is going to have to play.

Rose is right. Come the season he could play 30+ minutes night and not miss a game and the first question after every game will be “How are your knees feeling?” Until he does it for a season and a playoffs, it will be the main question he faces. And even after that it may be the second one.

Right now we’re all trying to read the tea leaves — limited games in an unusual setting don’t provide real answers. It’s small sample size theater. What you think those exhibition friendlies say about Rose really says more about what you think of Rose’s future than anything else. Team USA may be a great place for Rose to shake off the rust and push through the pain that comes with any comeback, but nobody can read much into how he is really feeling. Anyone who says they can is selling something.

We’ll get a better sense from the World Cup tournament.

But the real answers will not come until late October. And December. And February. And beyond.

Kings pick up option on G Ben McLemore

Ben McLemore, Rodney Hood
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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) The Sacramento have picked up the 2016-17 option on guard Ben McLemore‘s contract.

General manager Vlade Divac announced the move Saturday.

McLemore was Sacramento’s first-round pick in 2013. He averaged 12.1 points, 2.9 rebounds and 1.7 assists last season.

Paul George reiterates “I don’t know if I’m cut out for a four spot”

Paul George

In the Pacers first exhibition game of the season Saturday against the Pelicans, Paul George started at the power forward spot and looked healthy — that should be the big takeaway. He also showed off his offensive game in the first quarter, eventually finishing the night with 18 points on 7-of-15 shooting. He forced some shots in the second half and had some defensive challenges, but it was a solid outing for a first preseason game.

George did not see it that way, and that will end up being the big takeaway.

He complained about playing power forward during training camp and given the chance after this one game he did it again, as reported by Candace Buckner of the Indy Star.

“I don’t know if I’m cut out for a four spot,” George said after the Pacers’ 110-105 loss to the New Orleans Pelicans, a game in which he started matched up against 6-foot-11 All-Star Anthony Davis.

“I don’t know if this is my position. We’ll sit and watch tape and I’m sure I’ll talk with coach (Frank Vogel). I’ll talk with Larry (Bird) as well to get both their inputs on how the first game went but…I’m still not comfortable with it regardless of the situation. It’s still something I have to adjust to or maybe not. Or maybe it’s something we can go away from.”

George sees himself as a wing, where he has played his entire career. He doesn’t like defending traditional fours, as a scorer he doesn’t like expending all that energy defending pick-and-rolls and banging with bigger bodies. He’s been clear about that.

He still needs to be open to the idea. How much time George gets at the four on any given night should depend on the matchup — and Anthony Davis is about as rough a matchup as he is going to see. Davis scored 18 points in 15 minutes, and the Pelicans controlled the paint against the small-ball Pacers. George had a hard time defending Davis — welcome to a rather large club, PG. That said, George scored 12 points in the first quarter mostly with Davis on him, he pulled the big out in space and got what he wanted.

Back to the matchups point, George will struggle defensively against the best fours in the game (most of whom are in the West). But what about the nights in the East when George would be matched up on Thaddeus Young from Brooklyn, Jared Sullinger (or David Lee, or whoever) from Boston, or Aaron Gordon with the Magic, or Carmelo Anthony with the Knicks when they play small? There are a lot of lineups the Pacers will see where George at the four makes sense.

The Pacers are transitioning from a plodding and defensive-minded squad to a more up-tempo style, and that’s going to take time— a lot more than one preseason game. However, if George is throwing cold water on the plan after this one effort, it might take a lot longer and be a lot bumpier to make that transition than we pictured.