Tag: Indiana Pacers

Blake Griffin

Blake Griffin, DeMarcus Cousins, Draymond Green teammates USA Basketball exhibition Thursday in Las Vegas


After what happened last year at the USA Basketball meaningless exhibition game in Las Vegas — the Paul George injury — nobody should be shocked that a lot of the big names you can expect to see playing in 2016 at the Rio Olympics begged out of the USA Basketball exhibition game at the end of traning camp on Thursday.

So few players wanted to take part a handful of guys who were not part of the regular camp had to be called in to play in the game.

Still, there’s some star power out there.

USA Basketball announced the rosters for the showcase, as reported by Sam Amick of the USA Today.

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, Terrance Jones, Kawhi Leonard, Mason Plumlee, Klay Thompson, C.J. Watson.

I’ll pick the White Team, for two reasons. First is, I like that roster better — Cousins on the inside, Green and Leonard playing defense, Griffin owning everyone, and Thompson shooting from somewhere out on the strip and knocking them down.

Then there is Tom Thibodeau — he’s got nothing else to do, he’s probably watched 12 hours of film prepping for this game.

Let’s just hope everyone stays healthy.

LeBron James and Chandler Parsons not at Team USA minicamp. Yet?

Cleveland Cavaliers v Dallas Mavericks
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Paul George was excused from Team USA’s minicamp after Monday’s meeting.

But he’s not the only one of the 34 players expected in Las Vegas this week who missed Tuesday’s practice.

Marc Stein of ESPN:

Of the 34 players listed on USAB’s roster this week, only three were not in attendance for Tuesday’s practice: LeBron James, George and Dallas Mavericks swingman Chandler Parsons, who is recovering from recent knee surgery. But both James and Parsons are expected to be with the team Wednesday to ensure they are considered for the Summer Games in Brazil.

Remember, USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo called the minicamp mandatory to be considered for the 2016 Olympics. (However, that’s not exactly true for at least Kobe Bryant and Andre Iguodala.)

LeBron was always expected to attend just part of the camp, and Colangelo seemed cool with that. It’s about showing commitment to Team USA – not going through a full week of practice.

Parsons, who had knee surgery in the spring, surely won’t get on the court. But, again, that’s not necessary to meet Colangelo’s requirement. Parsons just needs to show up in Las Vegas. Considering his gallivanting with DeAndre Jordan, we know Parsons can physically handle appearing in Vegas.

I expect both players will show up. LeBron will keep the door open for his assured spot on the 2016 Olympic team. Parsons will keep himself from getting eliminated, though he’d still face long odds for making the 12-man roster.

Paul George is excused from Team USA mini-camp

Team USA Showcase

One can understand if Paul George may not want to play in the Team USA intrasquad exhibition game in Las Vegas this week. He’s not exactly had positive experiences with that in the past.

Still, George wants the opportunity to make the Team USA roster for the 2016 Rio Olympics, so he was in Las Vegas Tuesday for the opening of Team USA’s mini-camp (players had to show up in Las Vegas to be considered). But he was one-and-done — one day and he was excused from hanging around for the rest of camp, reports Marc Stein of ESPN.

Sources told ESPN.com that George attended both a team meeting Monday night as well as a one-on-one sitdown with Team USA coach Mike Krzyzewski, thus satisfying a mandate from USAB managing director Jerry Colangelo that any player who wants to be considered for the 2016 Olympic team must show himself in Vegas.

But sources say George — who was always expected by USAB officials to sit out this week’s two light workouts as well as Thursday night’s intrasquad scrimmage — was spared the chore of being forced to watch Tuesday’s noncontact session from the sideline and then face the media hordes in attendance.

After his horrific leg fracture a year ago at a Team USA exhibition, George missed almost the entire next NBA season.

He’s a bit of a longshot to make the roster for Rio, if he’s going to make it then it all starts with him looking like his old self this coming season. If he’s defending well on the wing and racking up points efficiently (and showing off a sweet outside stroke) then it’s possible he makes the cut.

But he doesn’t need to hang around Vegas a few extra days to prove anything.