In the hours leading up to the second game between Australia and New Zealand — a game with an Olympic bid hanging in the balance — Andrew Bogut’s back was bothering him so much he struggled to get out of bed.
He found a way to the court Tuesday then scored 10 points, grabbed 11 rebounds, blocked two shots and led Australia to an 89-79 win that qualifies them for the 2016 Olympics in Rio. Australia and New Zealand played a home-and-home series to decide the FIBA Oceanic area title and with it a spot in the Olympics, and the Boomers won both legs of the series by a cumulative score of 22 points.
In the second game Cavaliers point guard Matthew Dellavedova had 14 points, Bulls forward Cameron Bairstow had 10, and Spurs guard Patty Mills added nine for Australia.
The Boomers are the third team to qualify for Rio. The USA qualified by winning the World Cup last summer in Spain. Brazil is in as the host nation.
Bogut has a long history of back (and other) injuries, which is why nobody should be shocked if the Warriors reach a contract extension with Festus Ezeli. They need to be thinking long-term about the center spot on their roster.
If you’re reading this blog, you know who Klay Thompson is.
You may also know who Ryan Sheckler is — one of the biggest names in professional skateboarding, star of MTV’s “Life of Ryan,” and Dew Tour stud.
Turns out, they’re buds from growing up around each other in Orange County, CA. Thompson was hanging with Sheckler at the tour recently and they did this interview together. I can now picture Thompson and Steve Kerr having a long talk about skateboards during training camp.
John Wall was just at the Team USA mini-camp in Las Vegas. He is a top-five point guard in the NBA. He has developed into the point guard the Wizards hoped they would get when they selected him No. 1 in 2010.
But don’t expect to see him on the USA Basketball roster for the Rio Olympics next summer.
That’s not just my opinion — it’s what Wall himself told Ben Standig of CSNWashington.com.
“I’ll be out of the picture,” said Wall through a laugh and without any noticeable trace of resentment….
“I’m just being honest,” Wall continued. “Chris Paul has already won one (Olympic gold medal). Steph Curry had an amazing last year and just won the World Cup. Kyrie just won the World Cup. Russell will probably be on the team. They’ll use him as a two-guard. So, I probably won’t make it.”
It’s simply a numbers game.
The USA usually takes four or five guards, three of them point guards (James Harden and Klay Thompson likely are at the two guard spots, in my opinion). Stephen Curry is a lock. If Chris Paul wants to go, he is a lock. And then it comes down to the athletic freak and former Olympian that is Russell Westbrook (I think he makes the team), but if not him then it’s Kyrie Irving, who played for Mike Krzyzewski at Duke and played well for Team USA last summer at the World Cup. Wall said he thinks Irving makes it.
If everyone’s healthy, Wall just misses the cut. Team USA needs three point guards and he’s fifth. Point guard is a ridiculously deep position for Team USA, which is a nice luxury to have, but some very good players just miss the cut.