Later this month, when Kevin Durant and Kevin Love lead 20 players into a Las Vegas training camp trying to make the Team USA squad for the FIBA World Cup in Spain in August, they practice against some of the best young players in the game.
Names of who will be on that USA Select team of young stars started to leak out Friday.
Marcus Smart, Doug McDermott, Victor Oladipo, Tobias Harris, and both Miles and Mason Plumlee received invites, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports.
Michael Carter-Williams got an invite but had to turn it down after a recent shoulder surgery, reports Marc Stein of ESPN. Other players certainly have been invited but we do not yet have the full list.
It’s an interesting group of names so far. McDermott has excelled at the Summer League in Las Vegas with a game that could do well in international play — he can certainly shoot with range, but he can also put the ball on the floor and has good court vision and IQ. Defense… well, he’s a rookie still with things to work on. Oladipo had a good rookie season, and the Plumlee brothers both provide size and mobility.
They are all about to get invaluable experience.
They are going to work out with and go up against the best players in the world — to see how they train, their mental focus, their understanding of the game. They will see what it takes to reach the highest levels.
For Coach Mike Krzyzewski and Team USA, it’s a chance to start evaluating young players who may be future parts of USA Basketball squads. Guys such as Kyrie Irving and DeMarcus Cousins, who are expected to be on the USA roster for Spain, started on this USA Select team.
Just how close did Jeff David come to getting away with embezzling $13.4 million from the Kings while working for them? He already secured a new job with the Heat and was in the process of moving from Sacramento to Miami.
Kevin Arnovitz of ESPN:
On this Monday, walking through the Davids’ new front door is a dizzying procession of cable guys, utility workers and movers. Amid all of this, Jeff receives a phone call from a former co-worker with the Kings. Her name is Stacy Wegzyn, and she works in HR. Jeff last remembers sitting in her office in Sacramento just months earlier, being told that the Kings were going to eliminate his position. After a few pleasantries, she gets down to business. She tells Jeff she’s been going through his old files, and in doing so she found one labeled “TurboTax” that references an entity called Sacramento Sports Partners.
“I was just curious what that is and if those are documents that should go to somebody else,” Wegzyn says.
It’s a seemingly innocuous inquiry from an HR lifer. But it’s one that will dictate the rest of Jeff David’s life. If he knows that — or senses it — he doesn’t let on.
“No, no, no,” Jeff responds. “That was a … man, this is taking me back. Maybe 2015?”
Wegzyn presses on. She asks Jeff whether the documents contain anything that anyone with the Kings needs to see. Jeff assures her they can trash them because the entity isn’t around anymore. A few minutes after he hangs up, his mother-in-law, Nancy, is standing at the front door when an FBI investigator appears, asking to speak to Jeff.
If you like the NBA or true crime – let alone both – I HIGHLY recommend reading Arnovitz’s full piece. It’s riveting!
At least someone on the Warriors is getting healthy.
Big man Kevon Looney, who played opening night and has since been sidelined with a sore hamstring and neuropathy (what the team described as “nerve-related symptoms”), has been cleared to return to on-court basketball activities, the team announced Tuesday. From the official press release:
He will participate in select practice sessions with the Santa Cruz Warriors this week and will re-join the Golden State Warriors over the weekend. We will continue to monitor his progress and will provide another update on his status on Sunday.
Looney has already been officially assigned to Santa Cruz.
This is good news for the Warriors, who have been starting Willie Cauley-Stein but desperately need more shot blocking and depth up front.
Anyone getting healthy is good news for a Warriors team that is 2-12 and has the worst net rating in the NBA (-10.4).
Carmelo Anthony will wear No. 00 with the Trail Blazers.
Apparently because 00 kind of looks like ∞.
Somewhere, Kyrie Irving is nodding in support.
In terms of numbers that make sense…
Marc J. Spears of ESPN:
That’s a sizable role for a 35-year-old in his first game in more than a year. But Portland needs scoring with Damian Lillard sidelined, and – at last check (though, again, a while ago), Anthony was accustomed to big minutes.
Besides, we all want ample opportunity to see Anthony back on the court after his lengthy absence.
Knicks coach David Fizdale is on thin ice.
New York is 4-10. Knicks president Steve Mills is reportedly laying the groundwork to fire Fizdale. Mills and general manager Scott Perry addressed the media after a recent game and sounded as if they were at least partially blaming Fizdale.
But does Fizdale have a key supporter at the very top of the organization?
Fizdale, via Ian Begley of SNY:
“Every game, every game. Jim Dolan comes in and gives me a vote of confidence, a pat on my back and really has just been incredibly encouraging over the last year and a half or whatever it’s been,” Fizdale said. “All we talk about is just sticking to the process of making these guys better and building for a future of sustainable winning.”
A common synonym for “vote of confidence:” “dreaded vote of confidence.” Just how bad are near-nightly votes of confidence?
This will convince nobody that Fizdale’s job is safe. Someone will likely take the fall if the Knicks’ struggles continue. It might be Fizdale. It might be Mills. But Mills – who preceded and succeeded Phil Jackson in running the front office – knows his way around Madison Square Garden. And even if Mills gets demoted or fired, a new lead executive would likely want his own coach.