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:
Markieff Morris is unhappy in Phoenix and trying to force the Suns to trade him.
What’s his preferred destination and how does he want to get there?
John Gambadoro of 98.7 Arizona Sports:
He likes Houston because of James Harden and Toronto because of Kyle Lowry, but he honestly doesn’t care where he gets dealt as long as he is not wearing a Suns uniform.
He is going to tell the Suns he can’t play for them, has too much hatred and animosity built up and that they won’t want him around.
Markieff is not calling back teammates and plans to be very standoffish when he reports to camp. He does not plan on arriving until he absolutely has to, so no pickup games with the boys before camp starts. He is expected to make a circus of media day.
He has told those close to him he can never be happy in Phoenix. That he won’t say a word to any of the Suns’ upper management and will have one word answers for Coach Hornacek. He will keep things short and simple.
He wants them to know he is not motivated.
For his sake, I’m glad Morris would be happy anywhere (outside Phoenix). The Suns sure aren’t going to do him any favors.
But the Rockets and Raptors would make sense on a number of levels. Both teams have several solid assets to construct a deal, making it more likely to find a workable package. They also could both use another talented power forward. Patrick Patterson is fine in Toronto, but he’s not an inspiring starter. I like Terrence Jones in Houston, but Daryl Morey is the type to hedge his bets with another talented player.
This is the time to trade for Morris. He’s quarrelling with his current team, facing felony assault charges and coming off a relatively down season. His value could hardly sink lower.
But he also quietly played very well in 2013-14, is just 25 and has an affordable four years and $32 million remaining on his contract. There are things about Morris to like – especially if he want to play for your team.
It was a meaningless exhibition that had less defense then your Saturday morning pickup game at the Y. Or a Chinese league game. Or a Summer League game. If you catch an NFL preseason game this weekend, you’ll see more defense. I think you get the point.
Still, there were some entertaining moments out of the USA Basketball exhibition game Thursday night in Las Vegas — and everybody got out healthy, which is what really matters.
Andre Drummond seemed to take things more seriously and had 27 points and 16 rebounds. I kept thinking of Apollo Creed’s trainer in Rocky: “He doesn’t know it’s a damn show! He thinks it’s a damn fight!” Aside that DeMarcus Cousins made some plays on his birthday, Victor Oladipo and Blake Griffin made some plays, and a good time was had by all.
The guy who had the roughest night? DeMar DeRozan. The Raptors wing missed a lot of jumpers on a night when nobody was contesting them. Then Klay Thompson did this to him.
I didn’t know Thompson had that in him, although he may want to work a little on the alley-oop pass at the end.