Tag: Russell Westbrook

2014 USA Basketball Practice

Report: John Wall, after uncertainty, will attend Team USA minicamp


USA Basketball reportedly had doubts John Wall would attend next week’s minicamp.

Considering USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo made attendance mandatory for making the 2016 Olympic roster, that could have ended Wall’s Rio bid.

But he’ll keep his name in the hat.

J. Michael of CSN Washington:

Bradley Beal will have his backcourt mate, John Wall, when USA Basketball holds camp in Las Vegas starting a week from today, CSNwashington.com has been told by a person with knowledge of the situation.

I’m glad Wall is attending. He wasn’t happy to get cut from Team USA for last year’s World Cup, and I could see why he’d be disenchanted with the program.

But I think he has a real enough chance to make the Olympic squad.

Three point guards represented the U.S. in the World Cup: Derrick Rose, Kyrie Irving and Stephen Curry. Rose is uncertain about sticking with Team USA. Irving is coming off a major injury, and his Cavaliers project to advance deep into next year’s playoffs.

There’s less reason to downgrade Curry’s chances for 2016. Plus, two 2012 Olympians – Chris Paul and Russell Westbrook – are strongly in the mix.

So, it won’t be easy for Wall to make the 2016 Olympics. The U.S. is deep with point guards. But it’s not impossible.

For the same reason, I hope Damian Lillard reconsiders and attends the minicamp. I think he has a chance at the Olympics, too.

There’s probably more in it for Wall, though. Even if he doesn’t make the Olympic roster, at least Wall will get more face time with Kevin Durant during the camp.

Kobe Bryant, can this Laker team make the playoffs? “Of course it can. Absolutely.”

Los Angeles Lakers v Portland Trail Blazers

Kobe Bryant’s confidence is legendary.

So when Yahoo Sports’ Marc Spears asked this question, he had to know the answer.

With Kobe back, a few solid veterans such as Brandon Bass and Lou Williams, plus young stars like D’Angelo Russell and Julius Randle, can this Lakers team make the playoffs in a brutal Western Conference?

“Of course it can. Absolutely. We have talented players in their respective positions. We have some really young players. How exactly will the pieces of the puzzle fit? We really don’t know. We are going to [training] camp trying to piece this together just like every other team does. We have to figure out what our strengths are, figure out what our weaknesses are. And every time we step on the court we are going to try to hide our weaknesses and step up to our strengths.”

What did you expect him to say?

He’s wrong, but what did you expect him to say? It’s what GM Mitch Kupchak said as well.

I can hear the comments from the blind faith in Kobe/Lakers fans now, “everyone has doubted Kobe his entire career, he has proved everybody wrong. He will do it again.” That nobody believed in Kobe is a myth in the first place, but even he can’t overcome these hurdles.

Lakers won 21 games last season, and last season it took 45 wins to make the playoffs in the West — and that number likely goes up next season. The Lakers will be improved, but 24 games improved? Have you seen the West?

There are a lot of questions to answer and a lot of development that has to happen for these Lakers. Russell may develop into a quality point guard one day, but he’s a rookie with a steep learning curve (and he showed how steep at Summer League). Randle needs to diversify his offensive game. Clarkson is still growing and will have to work more off the ball. There are new players to fit in the mix with Bass, Williams and Roy Hibbert.

The real question is defense, the Lakers were terrible last season and likely not much improved this year. Hibbert was a rock-solid defensive anchor a couple of years ago in Indiana, but on a team with quality perimeter defenders (Paul George, Goerge Hill) who funneled drives right to him and allowed him to use his size. The Lakers lack those kinds of perimeter defenders, plus Hibbert has to show he can recognize plays and move in the same way he used to.

The bottom line is you look at the playoffs in the West and see the Warriors, Spurs, Clippers, Rockets, Thunder (with Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook back), Grizzlies and Pelicans are locks. That’s seven of the eight seeds. Which leaves the Lakers trying to beat out an improved Jazz team, the Mavericks, Suns, Trail Blazers, and potentially the Kings for that one final playoff spot.

Sorry Kobe, but the 36 wins the Lakers will rack up next season will not be enough.

An excellent Kobe Bryant impersonation (video)

Los Angeles Lakers v Portland Trail Blazers

This is really great, but I have one question: Why does he show Kobe Bryant making such a high percentage of his shots?

If you liked this and haven’t seen the prequels (or even if you already have):