Kyle Korver was among Team USA’s final cuts for the 2014 World Cup, but he had nothing but good things to say publicly about the experience.
Korver, via Kris Willis of Peachtree Hoops:
It was great. Obviously, it was a great honor just to be invited to that, to be a part of that. It was a good learning experience. It got me playing good basketball earlier in the summer. I usually do a lot of shooting, but I don’t usually do a lot of 5-on-5 playing. I think that will help me out as far as preseason and training camp. Overall, it was a really good experience for me.
Even when asked specifically about getting cut, Korver remained positive:
It was a long experience to not make it at the end. But it was good. We’re having our second baby.
So, it was good to be able to come back home, just be with my wife.
So, there’s always a silver lining.
But in reality, Korver might have felt a little differently.
Chris Sheridan of Sheridan Hoops:
Korver told me in April that he did not watch a single game of the competition last summer because he was so upset at being cut
Korver was not among the 34 players in Las Vegas this week for Team USA’s minicamp. I assume Korver – an initial member of the Team USA roster pool for 2014-16 – was invited. He’s recovering from ankle and elbow surgeries, though other players attended the camp without actually practicing. Unless he got an exemption (like Andre Iguodala), this all but certainly eliminates Korver from Olympic consideration.
Korver wasn’t the only player upset about being cut from the World Cup roster. Damian Lillard and John Wall also expressed their dismay. It’s especially tough for players so used to succeeding.
This is part of the reason Team USA will just pick 2016 Olympians rather than holding a tryout.
As a reminder, here were the rosters for last night’s Team USA scrimmage:
Blue Team (Monty Williams, coach):
Harrison Barnes, Bradley Beal, DeMar DeRozan, Andre Drummond, Kenneth Faried, Rudy Gay, Amir Johnson, Victor Oladipo, and Elfrid Payton.
White Team (Tom Thibodeau, coach):
Arron Afflalo, Michael Carter-Williams, DeMarcus Cousins, Draymond Green, Blake Griffin, Terrence Jones, Kawhi Leonard, Mason Plumlee, Klay Thompson, C.J. Watson.
Austin Rivers’ takeaway?
Rivers certainly doesn’t lack confidence – which is his biggest problem as a player. He too often takes bad shots or dribbles into trouble, because he believes he’s good enough to handle it.
This tweet gives little hope he better grasps his limitations.
To be fair, Rivers has improved each of his three NBA seasons. How dreadful he was as a rookie certainly plays a part, but Rivers has made nice progress. Most Improved Player is a good goal for him.
The rest is nonsense.
Maybe – maybe – Rivers is better than Watson, a non-Team USA minicamper invited to fill out the roster. But a lot of those dudes? It’s just insulting to them, which Rivers seemed to realize before he went further:
USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo said Derrick Rose wouldn’t play for Team USA in the 2016 Olympics, because Rose missed this week’s minicamp mandatory for Olympic consideration.
Don’t hold Colangelo to that, though.
Colangelo, via Dave McMenamin of ESPN:
“I always said you never shut the door entirely on anyone. I mean, why? To prove what? Was I disappointed Derrick [Rose] wasn’t here? Sure. Because, we want the best for him. We want the best for him. We want him to get back to the level that he once was. So let’s just see how things go in the future.”
This is the logical approach.
Chris Paul, Stephen Curry, Russell Westbrook, Kyrie Irving, John Wall, Mike Conley and Michael Carter-Williams deserve credit for attending the minicamp. That should give them an advantage over Rose.
Even without that advantage, it’s difficult to see Rose being more deserving than three of that group. With the advantage, it’s nearly impossible.
But it’s not completely impossible. If Rose reverts to his MVP form – Westbrook indicates it’s possible – and other point guards don’t play for whatever reason, Rose might deserve to represent the Americans in Rio.
I’m hardly counting on that, but Rose is still in the running. He’s just starting behind the blocks.