Tag: Chris Paul

2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup - USA v Turkey

Report: Derrick Rose undecided about attending Team USA minicamp


In last summer’s FIBA World Cup tournament, Derrick Rose made his return to organized basketball after missing all but 10 games of the previous two seasons with two different knee surgeries. He looked rusty in the tournament, but he has said many times that the experience helped him prepare for the Bulls’ season. Rose missed six weeks of last season after undergoing another surgery on his right knee, but a strong performance in the playoffs leaves him optimistic for next season, and he hasn’t closed the door entirely on participating in USA Basketball in the future.

ESPNChicago.com’s Nick Friedell reports that Rose is on the fence about participating in this summer’s Las Vegas minicamp:

Chicago Bulls star guard Derrick Rose is still undecided about attending Team USA’s minicamp, according to league sources.

Rose has indicated in the past that he would like to play for Team USA in the Olympics, but sources told ESPNChicago.com that he is weighing the potential benefits of taking more time off before the start of Bulls training camp in late September.

It’s unlikely that Rose will make the cut for Team USA for the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in 2016 if he doesn’t participate in this summer’s minicamp. The program is loaded with other point guards, including Chris Paul, Kyrie Irving, Stephen Curry, John Wall and possibly Damian Lillard, so he’ll have competition regardless, and he didn’t exactly set the world on fire in the 2014 tournament. It will be totally understandable if he decides to sit this summer out and prepare for the season. But given that this is probably his last opportunity to play for Team USA in a major tournament, that could be a tougher decision than it seems.

Report: Chris Paul to attend Team USA minicamp

Chris Paul, Ray McCallum

There’s not a major international tournament this year, but it’s still a crucial year for USA Basketball. The Summer Olympics in Rio de Janiero are coming up next year, and Mike Krzyzewski and Jerry Colangelo have until then to whittle their roster down. This year’s minicamp will provide a hint as to which players are and are not in the running. Recently, it was reported that Dwight Howard is planning to attend the camp in Las Vegas. Now, ESPN.com’s Marc Stein is reporting that another Team USA veteran is in: Chris Paul.

Paul has won two Olympic gold medals with Team USA, in Bejing in 2008 and in London in 2012. He’ll be 31 by the time the Rio Olympics roll around, so it’s likely his last chance to add a third medal to his collection. The younger point guards like Kyrie Irving and John Wall will probably be focal points of the program by that time, but Paul will still be extremely valuable to have around for his experience.

Hakeem Olajuwon and Dikembe Mutombo make surprise appearances for Team Africa in NBA exhibition game (VIDEO)

Houston Rockets Championship Anniversary Luncheon

A contingent of current and former NBA players have spent the past week in Johannesburg, South Africa as part of the league’s annual Basketball Without Borders clinic. But this year’s edition of the event is special in that it includes the NBA’s first-ever officially sanctioned exhibition game on the content of Africa. The game features a team of African NBA players including Luol Deng, Serge Ibaka and Bismack Biyombo against “Team World,” which features the likes of Chris Paul, Bradley Beal, Marcus Smart and the Gasol brothers.

Fans in South Africa got an extra surprise during the game on Saturday: two of the most legendary African players in NBA history, and two of the most important ambassadors for the sport in Africa, suited up along with the current players. Hall of Famer Hakeem Olajuwon and second all-time leading shot-blocker Dikembe Mutombo checked into the game in throwback Rockets and Nuggets jerseys, respectively:

Olajuwon scored on the Magic’s Nikola Vucevic using his patented “Dream Shake”:

And Mutombo got a stop against the Jazz’ Trey Burke:

NBA commissioner Adam Silver said this week that it’s only a matter of time until the NBA plays a regular-season game in Africa. This exhibition game is just the first step in that direction. But it was cool to see two legends in action alongside current players helping to grow the sport all over the world.

NBA lands in Africa trying to put down roots, which is all about youth programs, infrastructure

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Under David Stern and now Adam Silver, the NBA has tried to grow its brand across the globe and establish itself as the world’s premier basketball league. That has meant games and outreach to Europe, China, South America, India and the Philippines.

Now the NBA has landed in Africa for the first-ever NBA game on that continent — a Team Africa vs. Team World exhibition featuring some of the biggest names in the league Saturday in Johannesburg, South Africa. Chris Paul, Luol Deng, and Marc Gasol will be there, as will be native Nigerians and NBA players Al-Farouq Aminu and Giannis Antetokounmpo. Twenty NBA players in all are taking part, along with coaches Gregg Popovich of the Spurs and Mike Budenholzer of the Atlanta Hawks.

“It’s incredible to see all these guys here,” said Raptors GM Masai Ujiri on a conference call Thursday.

“It’s an honor to be part of this,” said Bismack Biyombo, the new Raptors center and native of the Congo, on the same call. “Growing up here in Africa you watch an NBA game every now and then, or when someone had one recorded.”

Much of the talk about growing the sport in Africa has seemed to focus on the NBA brand — bringing an NBA preseason or maybe even regular season game to the continent. That’s a long ways away — Saturday’s exhibition will be in a 4,000-seat arena — but it’s a possibility.

“We’ve definitely had discussions, but they are elementary in some ways…” Ujiri said. “(The Raptors) would definitely be a team that would be very, very interested.”

The real test, however, is not bringing another NBA game to Africa, but finding ways to grow the sport at a grassroots level in Africa.

“The reason you see African nations (doing well internationally) in soccer — or football — now is that we played at a young age,” Ujiri noted. “You just had a ball and two rocks to be the goals, as I used to play growing up.”

Growing youth basketball will mean building infrastructure — in the USA we just expect to see even pocket parks in cities with a basketball hoop. They are ubiquitous, as are youth hoops programs. All of that is lacking in Africa, where soccer but not basketball is part of the culture.

“One thing to come out of this will be more camps, more clinics, more games, more youth competition, and from that you get into infrastructure, and building more courts,” Ujiri said, adding that what the NBA needs to help do is “coach the coaches” who will help teach the game.

“We’ve worked with kids the past few years here, and I worked with kids in the Congo the last few weeks, and the potential is here,” Biyombo said. “The problem we all have is we started playing basketball late. That’s why we’ve been trying to build courts around the country.”

The game Saturday is just one step in that direction, but exposing the youth of Africa to the highest levels of the game is a start. Now comes the hard part of building that youth infrastructure.

The words that kept coming up in everyone’s press conferences was the potential of the market and the youth in Africa.

“There is talent there,” Ujiri said of Africa. “It’s how this motivates them and the opportunities it creates for them.”

“I want (African youth) to use basketball as a way to gain an education because all of them are not going to make it to the NBA,” Biyombo said. “I want to show them they can reach their dream with a lot of hard work.”

“Africa is a continent with huge potential and many different levels,” said Pau Gasol, who also will take part in the game and spoke with the media Thursday. “It has a lot of struggles, but it’s worth investing the time and the effort and the energy to give this country and this continent a chance, and I think a lot of players are coming out and obviously have come out already, but there’s potential that a lot more younger players can come out and be ready and become great basketball players and have an opportunity to have a great life for themselves and their families.”

Highlight reel: Best assists of 2014-15 NBA season

Detroit Pistons v San Antonio Spurs

On a slow summer day, here is a little something to remind you of the 2014-15 season — and whet your appetite for the coming season this fall.

Stephen Curry, Derrick Rose, Chris Paul, LeBron James all show off their passing skills, but it may be Manu Ginobili who steals the show. That guy is still a wizard with the ball.