P.J. Tucker

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P.J. Tucker, battling ankle issue, latest to withdraw for USA World Cup roster

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For the past couple of weeks, P.J. Tucker has been taking part in USA Basketball’s camp, preparing for the FIBA World Cup in China that starts at the end of this month (Team USA’s first game is Sept. 1 against the Czech Republic). He said he was energized by the invite from USA Basketball and was excited to take part.

His skill set fits what the USA wants to do — he is a physical defender, he can shoot the three, and he knows how to move the ball and move off the ball. He’s also the kind of respected veteran leader a young roster can look to.

However, on Thursday during practice in Los Angeles, he tweaked his ankle.

Friday, before the USA takes on Spain in an exhibition game in Anaheim, Tucker has pulled out of Team USA, a story broken by Shams Charania of The Athletic.

That leaves Team USA with 14 players on the roster. Only 12 can be on the final roster for the World Cup, which means there are two more cuts to be made. USA Basketball traditionally makes those final cuts before they travel overseas, which will come after Friday night’s exhibition against Spain. Expect the cuts to come in the next few days.

Coach Gregg Popovich, in a very Spursian way, has been careful not to single out any player as good or bad through the tryouts. In a summer where a lot of big names decided not to play for Team USA this summer (focusing more on the Olympics next year), he wants to protect the guys who did come out and make the time sacrifice to be part of camp.

The USA’s first real test — against a good Spanish side led by Marc Gasol — will take place Friday night at 10 p.m. ET (broadcast on NBA TV). NBC Sports have stories directly from Anaheim tonight.

Marvin Bagley withdraws from consideration for U.S. World Cup team

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Sacramento forward Marvin Bagley III has told USA Basketball that he is withdrawing from consideration for the roster that will be sent to China this month for the FIBA World Cup.

Bagley’s decision was revealed Sunday, two days before he was to report to El Segundo, California, for the second week of training camp. Bagley was not immediately replaced, and unless that changes the U.S. will have 16 players still in the mix for 12 final roster spots.

The New York Times first reported Bagley’s decision to withdraw.

Bagley was on the select team – younger NBA players brought in to compete against national-team candidates – last week in Las Vegas, and earned a promotion to the national team Friday night following USA Basketball’s intrasquad scrimmage.

Sacramento still has two players left as World Cup roster candidates, with Harrison Barnes and De'Aaron Fox headed to camp this week. Boston has four – Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart, Jayson Tatum and Kemba Walker. Milwaukee’s Brook Lopez and Khris Middleton remain candidates, along with Brooklyn’s Joe Harris, the Los Angeles Lakers’ Kyle Kuzma, Toronto’s Kyle Lowry, Utah’s Donovan Mitchell, Denver’s Mason Pluelee, Houston’s P.J. Tucker, Indiana’s Myles Turner and San Antonio’s Derrick White.

Lowry (thumb surgery) and Smart (calf strain) are both dealing with injuries, with clarity on their situations expected to come early this week. The Americans will practice at the Lakers’ facility Tuesday through Thursday, then face Spain in Anaheim, California on Friday night.

Andre Drummond withdraws from Team USA for FIBA World Cup

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Why did Team USA add Heat center Bam Adebayo to a World Cup training-camp roster that already included Brook Lopez, Myles Turner, Andre Drummond, Julius Randle and P.J. Tucker?

Because the U.S. was losing one of those bigs.

USA Basketball release:

USA Basketball today announced the addition of Miami Heat center Bam Adebayo to the USA Men’s National Team and to the roster of players expected to participate in the USA’s Aug. 5-9 World Cup training camp. USA Basketball also announced that 6-11 forward Jaren Jackson Jr. (Memphis Grizzlies) has been added to the USA Select Team roster, and that Andre Drummond (Detroit Pistons) and Montrezl Harrell (Los Angeles Clippers) had withdrawn from the World Cup training camp.

Drummond had potential to contribute. He would’ve thrived with international goaltending rules, which allow players to put back rebounds above the cylinder.

At least the Americans are deep at center. If anything goes wrong with the main-roster players, Jaren Jackson Jr. could even get called up.

Still, reasonable depth isn’t star power. That’s where Team USA is really lacking.

Mason Plumlee added to Team USA player pool (Montrezl Harrell, too, but he’s already out)

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The story of Team USA’s 2019 FIBA World Cup roster in a nutshell: USA Basketball announced Montrezl Harrell and Mason Plumlee were added to the player pool. Less than an hour later, Harrell put out word he probably wouldn’t play.

Shams Charania of The Athletic:

Many stars swiftly turned down Team USA for this year’s FIBA World Cup. More accepted an invitation to try out then withdrew. Now even Harrell is out.

Who’s in?

Here are the players slated to attend training camp, with rough positional designations:

Point guards

Kemba Walker (Boston Celtics)

Kyle Lowry (Toronto Raptors)

Combo guards

Donovan Mitchell (Utah Jazz)

Marcus Smart (Boston Celtics)

Wings

Khris Middleton (Milwaukee Bucks)

Jayson Tatum (Boston Celtics)

Jaylen Brown (Boston Celtics)

Harrison Barnes (Sacramento Kings)

Big forwards

P.J. Tucker (Houston Rockets)

Thaddeus Young (Chicago Bulls)

Kyle Kuzma (Los Angeles Lakers)

Centers

Brook Lopez (Milwaukee Bucks)

Andre Drummond (Detroit Pistons)

Myles Turner (Indiana Pacers)

Julius Randle (New York Knicks)

Mason Plumlee (Denver Nuggets)

Plumlee is an odd addition (except considering his connections). That’s so many centers – especially because USA Basketball also invited Harrell, another center. It seems original selections Lopez, Drummond and Turner could hold down the position.

The Americans could use more backcourt depth. J.J. Redick, who just signed with the Pelicans, might provide it.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

As an excellent outside shooter, Redick could fill a valuable role.

USA Basketball also announced the select team, a group of young players that practices against the senior squad:

At this rate, maybe a select-team player or two will make the final World Cup roster.

Kevin Love ‘expected’ to withdraw from Team USA World Cup training camp

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Add another one to the list of players who have dropped out of USA Basketball. So far, that list is

Anthony Davis (Los Angeles Lakers)
James Harden (Houston Rockets)
Damian Lillard (Portland Trail Blazers)
CJ McCollum (Portland Trail Blazers)
Bradley Beal (Washington Wizards)
Eric Gordon (Houston Rockets)
Tobias Harris (Philadelphia 76ers)

Now Kevin Love is expected to join the list, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic. The good news is Kyle Lowry wants to play.

Love’s floor spacing skills, rebounding, and outlet passes fit well in the international game. Love won gold with Team USA at the London Olympics.

The motivations behind all the defections are, in general, a combination of three things. First, the NBA title chase feels wide open this season with as many as eight teams thinking they have a legit shot at it, and the majority of those dropping out are on those teams. The players are prioritizing club over country. Secondly, FIBA moved the World Cup from 2018 to 2019, meaning if a player is eyeing the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo they would be taking part in two straight summers of USA Basketball — likely after long playoff runs — to do both. Players are choosing to take the World Cup off. Third, this World Cup starts late, running Aug. 31 to Sept. 15, and runs right up against the start of training camps.

Even with all the withdrawals, the USA team is loaded with enough talent to three-peat as gold medalists at the event. Kemba Walker, Kyle Lowry, Donovan Mitchell, Marcus Smart, Khris Middleton, Jayson Tatum, Kyle Kuzma, Harrison Barnes, Aaron Gordon, Thaddeus Young, P.J. Tucker, Julius Randle, Paul Millsap, Andre Drummond, Brook Lopez, and Myles Turner are among those invited.