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DeRozan and Hayward

DeRozan, Drummond, Hayward, Lillard Sit As USA Decides Cuts

Team USA got their act together in the second half and rolled over Puerto Rico 112-86 at Madison Square Garden, however, the bigger story is who USA Basketball Chairman Jerry Colangelo will decide to keep from the remaining 16 players to get down to the FIBA mandated 12 man roster. It had to be tough for Raptors DeMar DeRozan, Pistons Andre Drummond, Jazz Gordon Hayward and Trail Blazers Damian Lillard to sit out knowing the preference has always been to leave for Spain on Saturday with the roster decisions already made.
 

 

Team USA started out this game flat and let guards Jose Juan Barea and Carlos Arroyo take it to them. Tied at the end of the first quarter and up by five at the half only because of a long range buzzer-beating three-pointer from Klay Thompson, Team USA didn’t look very much like the team from their first two exhibition games.

 

 

James Harden still looks decidedly uncomfortable as a starting small forward playing with two point guards. He might be the guy Coach Krzyzewski is hoping will become a leader, but Harden still hasn’t figured out how to lead without the ball in his hands. How he’s played thus far doesn’t really change much, however, Harden is a lock to be in the rotation for Team USA at the World Cup.

Kyle Korver still gets called a lock by a lot of media, but tonight’s game typifies what to expect from a specialist three-point shooter on a team loaded with more talented players. Korver was 0-0 shooting with a personal foul in just over 3 minutes in the first half and 0-1 shooting with a personal foul in just under 3 minutes in the second half. As talented a long range threat as Korver is, he doesn’t have a role on this team. The Splash Brothers have the deep threat needs covered.

Cousins may have played himself off the roster. About the only things Colangelo is going to learn about his players from these exhibition games is which ones can handle the pressure of playing for their national team and can accept the role required of them. Cousins looked decidedly flustered against Puerto Rico.

 

 

The decisions Colangelo has in front of him are not easy and the players he selects as the 11th and 12th players will not be expected to play much – if at all, but who gets those spots still sends a strong message. Those are the players Colangelo wants to get some international exposure for future Olympics and World Cups, so it matters.

Mason Plumlee and Chandler Parsons got their chance to play against Puerto Rico and join the games four DNP-CDs in a group waiting to hear who’ll be on the plane to Spain and who’ll be left behind. If they take the news the right way, it’ll be a win either way.

 

 

What applies to the Raptors DeRozan applies equally to any player invited to workout with Team USA. It’s a great experience and should make one a better player down the road no matter what Colangelo decides to do on Friday night.

 

Stephen_Brotherston_insideStephen Brotherston covers the Toronto Raptors and visiting NBA teams at the Air Canada Centre and is a member of the Professional Basketball Writers Association.

 
 

Note: Team USA outscored Puerto Rico 60-39 in the second half led by Stephen Curry who added 15 points after the break for a game-high 20 points in 18.4 minutes on 6-7 shooting – best player on the court. Derrick Rose played 13.5 minutes and unless he bows out on his own, he’s on the team.

Team USA exhibition game stats can be found here.

Update:

 
 

NBA Toronto Raptors DeMar DeRozan

DeMar DeRozan 13/5/6 Leads USA To Easy Win Over Dominican

DeMar DeRozan came off the bench for Team USA to lead the second unit and his team with a team-high 13 points, 5 rebounds and a game-high 6 assists in an embarrassingly easy 105-62 win over a grossly overmatched Dominican Republic team. Rudy Gay also scored 13 points off the bench.

With cuts on the immediate horizon for Team USA, there is a temptation to try and read something into tonight’s individual performances, but that would be a huge mistake. Team USA wasn’t challenged at any point during this game and the hardest part for their players was to remain disciplined and continue to play team basketball rather than merely showing off against a group of players that had no chance of stopping whatever Team USA chose to do. USA Basketball Chairman Jerry Colangelo and Coach Krzyzewski didn’t learn anything about their players that they didn’t already know.

Derrick Rose sat out Wednesday’s game and the continuing knee soreness has to be raising concerns – not for Team USA, but rather for the Chicago Bulls. Rose can help Team USA, but Kyrie Irving got the start in his place, shot 5-5 for 12 points, and the Team didn’t really look any different. Damian Lillard can easily fill in as the third point guard, so the decision about whether Rose goes to Spain or stays home is really between him, his coach and his doctors.

Stephen Curry, James Harden, Kenneth Faried and Anthony Davis remained in the starting unit and Klay Thompson stayed in the sixth man role so these decisions appeared to have been confirmed.

DeRozan reaffirmed his usefulness to Team USA off the bench as both a facilitator and a scorer and the longer he was in the game, the more the second unit’s offense seemed to flow through him. His 6 assists was a team high.

While the Dominican Republic didn’t provide much – if any – resistance, their lack of size without Al Horford made assessing Team USA’s big men even more difficult. The 7’ Karl-Anthony Towns is only 18-years-old (Kentucky), but he got a chance to try and guard the Team USA centers for 10 minutes, so take what was witnessed in this game with a huge grain of salt. The Dominican’s only NBA player is the 32-year-old Francisco Garcia and this team just split a pair of games with the University of Kentucky. Kentucky vs Dominican Boxscore (Game 2, 63-62).

Garcia scored 14 points for the Dominican Republic on Wednesday.

Next up for Team USA is Puerto Rico and they recently lost to the Dominican, so get ready for another meaningless contest that will provide no useful information to Colangelo and Krzyzewski. Team USA might not want to announce any decisions on cuts before they have to, but they already have all the useful information available.

A boxscore for this game is available from the Team USA website.

Anyone who suggests Colangelo and Krzyzewski are making decisions based on either of these two games in New York is blowing smoke.

Chandler Parsons, Kyle Korver and Mason Plumlee were DNP-CD – read into that what you will.

 

Stephen_Brotherston_insideStephen Brotherston covers the Toronto Raptors and visiting NBA teams at the Air Canada Centre and is a member of the Professional Basketball Writers Association.

 

 

Will DeMar DeRozan Make Team USA? Who Gets Cut?
The Toronto Raptors All-Star wing DeMar DeRozan survived the first round of cuts for Team USA, however, the final roster is limited to 12 men and those cuts are expected to be made before the Team leaves after Friday night’s game in New York to play their final friendly exhibition contest against Slovenia in Spain just ahead of the World Cup on August 30. So the question becomes, who gets cut?

photo credit Paul Saini Fylmm.com

 

DeMar DeRozan 1

Will DeMar DeRozan Make Team USA? Who Gets Cut?

The Toronto Raptors All-Star wing DeMar DeRozan survived the first round of cuts for Team USA when USA Basketball Chairman Jerry Colangelo, Coach Krzyzewski and their staff took the roster down to 16 players at the beginning of August. However, the final roster is limited to 12 men and those cuts are expected to be made before the Team leaves after Friday night’s game in New York to play their final friendly exhibition contest against Slovenia in Spain just ahead of the World Cup on August 30. So the question becomes, who gets cut?

On August 4, the Team USA roster looked like:

Guards: Damian Lillard, Derrick Rose, Stephen Curry and Kyrie Irving.

Wings: Klay Thompson, DeMar DeRozan, James Harden, Gordon Hayward and Kyle Korver,

Bigs: Kevin Durant, Anthony Davis, Chandler Parsons, Kenneth Faried, DeMarcus Cousins, Mason Plumlee and Andre Drummond.

Since then Kevin Durant bowed out and was replaced by Rudy Gay.

There is a developing consensus that the starters against Brazil: Derrick Rose, Stephen Curry, James Harden, Kenneth Faried and Anthony Davis have made the team and the sixth man Klay Thompson will get the nod because of his chemistry with Curry, however, the other six spots on the roster remain up for grabs.

Everyone has been promised to play in at least one exhibition game and if Saturday’s DNP-CD players DeRozan, Drummond, Hayward and Cousins play against the Dominican Republic on Wednesday and Lillard and Korver get another chance after very short minutes against Brazil, Team USA could be ready to pare down the roster to 12 or 13 in time for Thursday’s practice.

It is assumed Lillard will be the odd man out among the point guards, however, that shouldn’t be considered as carved in stone before Wednesday’s game and if Rose’s knees are still sore, Lillard could tag along as a 13th man right up until Team USA has to submit their final roster on August 29.

There is an obvious competition between Cousins, Drummond and Plumlee to fill a big man role in the middle of the court to provide some size if needed against the biggest threat to Team USA’s pursuit of Gold. Spain will throw out Pau and Marc Gasol in the starting lineup with Serge Ibaka coming off the bench and that represents a lot of very good and very experienced FIBA-comfortable bulk under the basket. There is no possible way Krzyzewski would want to be relying on the very young and inexperienced Drummond or Plumlee to check either Gasol brother. Team USA has to be seriously hoping Cousins can bounce-back from his minor knee injury quickly – Wednesday would be nice.

Plumlee played reasonably well in 15 minutes against Brazil and Drummond would have to at least match that to stay in contention, but it’s hard to see how Team USA would bring over either player to Spain except as a 12th man.

The only reason for bringing Korver along is if the Team brass believes they have a shortage of legitimate three-point threats, but they really don’t. This team has plenty of shooters and good ones at that. The Splash Brothers got this covered.

DeRozan, Hayward and Parsons were lumped together earlier by Colangelo and at least one of them should be concerned about not joining this group in Spain. Gay should be placed in here as well.

As the standout player from the Blue and White scrimmage, DeRozan should have the edge if he can maintain that level of play in an exhibition game. DeRozan isn’t known as a three-point shooter, but in the packed-paint of FIBA basketball, Team USA could use his ability to get open and make shots in the midrange. On a team with limited international experience, bringing back former Team USA member Gay just makes sense and if one was forced to choose between Hayward and Parsons, the more versatile Parsons is also the better shooter.

It is possible all four players from this group make the roster as this scenario would provide the most flexibility for Coach Krzyzewski against international rosters that can create matchup issues for anyone. It could come down to which player Colangelo wants to bring over as a 12th man for exposure to the international game.

If Lillard and Korver are out, the real decision should come down to which one of Drummond, Plumlee or Hayward makes the team to bring the final tally to 12 players.

Two games in New York over three days should be more than enough for Colangelo and company to decide who gets cut from Team USA, however, except for the players waiting the hear, the pressure really isn’t on and it’s likely the decisions have already been made. This team has more than enough talent to legitimately believe that Gold in Spain is theirs to lose no matter which 12 players make the trip.

 

Stephen_Brotherston_insideStephen Brotherston covers the Toronto Raptors and visiting NBA teams at the Air Canada Centre and is a member of the Professional Basketball Writers Association.

 
 

Check out:

Eurobasket Predicts Spain To Defeat Team USA At World Cup
Spain features 6 NBA players: Ricky Rubio, Jose Calderon, Victor Claver, Serge Ibaka, Pau Gasol and Marc Gasol. They also carry 4 teammates from Real Madrid: Sergio Rodriguez, Sergio Llull, Rudy Fernandez and Felipe Reyes. Plus teammates Juan Carlos Navarro and Alejandro Abrines from FCB Regal. Both home court and team chemistry will be with the Spanish side.

 
 

TOR_DeRozan_DeMar

DeRozan, Drummond, Hayward, Cousins All Sit in Team USA Win Over Brazil

Team USA pulled out the 95-78 friendly exhibition game win over Brazil at the United Center in Chicago 95-78 by winning the first quarter 29-15 and the fourth quarter 27-15, but for many people watching on ESPN or catching the game on-line, the bigger story was who wasn’t playing.

DeMar DeRozan, Andre Drummond, Gordon Hayward and DeMarcus Cousins didn’t see a second of court time as DNP-CD. Except for Cousins who was resting a (hopefully) minor injury, not playing in these friendly exhibition games leading up to the tournament in Spain does not bode well for making the team.

Damian Lillard only played 1:47 and Kyle Korver was inserted for just 3:18 as the starters Stephen Curry, Derrick Rose, James Harden, Kenneth Faried, Anthony Davis and sixth man Klay Thompson received the bulk of the minutes.

 

 

View the complete boxscore here.

Team USA plays at Madison Square Garden on August 20 against Dominican Republic and on August 22 versus Puerto Rico before heading overseas for their final friendly exhibition game before the tournament against Slovenia in Gran Canaria, Spain on August 26.

The DNP-CD players from Saturday against Brazil will need to see some court time in these friendlies to have a chance of making the final Team USA roster for the World Cup.

 

Stephen_Brotherston_insideStephen Brotherston covers the Toronto Raptors and visiting NBA teams at the Air Canada Centre and is a member of the Professional Basketball Writers Association.

 

 

NBA Toronto Raptors Rudy Gay

Kings Rudy Gay To Join Team USA Tryouts

The Sacramento Kings Rudy Gay has been traded twice in two seasons with up then down and back up results, however, he has been with Team USA before and with the withdrawal of Kevin Durant and the loss of Paul George to injury, Gay brings scoring and size to the the small forward position if he can make the team.

Before Gay was traded by the Toronto Raptors last December, it looked liked his game was in free fall. Gay was taking an inordinate number of shots and bricking his way towards a career worst 38.8 percent shooting from the field. Post trade he found his stroke and averaged 48.2 percent shooting with the Kings.

Over his 8 NBA seasons, Gay has averaged 18.2 points and 5.8 rebounds and shot 45.1 percent from the field. He has a very legitimate chance of making the USA team heading to Spain for the World Cup on August 30th.

Gay joins the 15 other players trying to make the 12 man roster.

DeMar DeRozan Free Throws

DeMar DeRozan Survives First Round Of Team USA Cuts

Toronto Raptors All-Star wing DeMar DeRozan survived the first round of cuts for Team USA as USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo and Coach Krzyzewski have to reduce the roster to 12 players before the World Cup in Spain starts on August 30.

 

 

The cuts leave 16 players on the roster for now.

Guards Damian Lillard, Derrick Rose, Stephen Curry and Kyrie Irving.

Wings Klay Thompson, DeMar DeRozan, James Harden, Gordon Hayward and Kyle Korver,

Bigs Kevin Durant, Anthony Davis, Chandler Parsons, Kenneth Faried, DeMarcus Cousins, Mason Plumlee and Andre Drummond.

DeRozan Shone In the Team USA Blue and White scrimmage that was cut short by the gruesome injury to Paul George’s leg. DeRozan led all scorers with 16 points on 6-9 shooting from the field and had 4 rebounds.

Team USA is expected to resume training camp next week.

 

Stephen_Brotherston_insideStephen Brotherston covers the Toronto Raptors and visiting NBA teams at the Air Canada Centre and is a member of the Professional Basketball Writers Association.

 

 

DeMar DeRozan 1

DeRozan Shines In Scrimmage Cut Short By Injury To George

DeMar DeRozan was doing what the Toronto Raptors have come to expect from their All-Star at the Team USA Blue and White scrimmage, he was leading all scorers with 16 points on 6-9 shooting from the field and had collected 4 rebounds. A much improved jump shooter since he came into the league in 2009, DeRozan quickly found the range in this game and took advantage of his opportunities.

It was important for DeRozan to make an impression in this setting. He is one of a handful of players that John Schuhmann described as one of ‘the redundacies’ on Sekou Smith’s Hang Time Blog.

In answering a question about Gordon Hayward on Thursday, Colangelo said, “We have a lot of redundancy at certain positions and body types and sizes,” and put Hayward in the same category with Chandler Parsons and DeMar DeRozan.

“This will be very competitive for a number of guys because of the redundancy,” Colangelo said. “You could go one way or another.”

However, the attention of the Blue and White scrimmage instantly moved from deciding on roster spots to concern over the Pacers All-Star Paul George as George suffered what could only be described as a gruesome right leg injury early in the fourth quarter.

Pacers Paul George Breaks His Leg In Team USA Scrimmage

The game was halted and all attention turned to concern for George.

“There’s no way the game could have gone on under the circumstances,” USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo said.

“Everything’s on hold right and it should be,” Krzyzewski said. “It would be so inappropriate for us to talk about anything else when there’s a serious injury like this.”

The best guesses being put forth after the injury suggest George could miss 9-12 months with concerns it could be worse. George later tweeted his thanks for everyone’s concern.

George had surgery on his broken leg almost immediately and Brian Windhorst tweeted that some of the worst fears had been avoided.

In the post scrimmage media availability with Colangelo and Coach Krzyzewski they asked that all questions about roster decisions, future practice sessions and Team USA’s future plans be put on hold until after they knew more about George’s condition and had time to reflect.

 

Stephen_Brotherston_insideStephen Brotherston covers the Toronto Raptors and visiting NBA teams at the Air Canada Centre and is a member of the Professional Basketball Writers Association.

 

 

IND_George_Paul

Pacers Paul George Breaks His Leg In Team USA Scrimmage

The Indians Pacers All-Star Paul George broke his right leg during a Team USA Blue and White scrimmage on Friday night.

While few details are available at this time, the injury is severe. It was clearly visible that George’s leg was completely broken as he landed while trying to defend a fast break layup by James Harden. The balance of the scrimmage was canceled and future announcements about Team USA’s plans for upcoming exhibition games and practices have been put on hold.

Videos of the incident and Coach Mike Krzyzewski announcement afterwards were posted on NBA.com:

Coach Krzyzewski’s Announcement

Paul George Injured

NBA News published the following comments:

Indiana Pacers All-Star Paul George suffered a gruesome right leg injury late in the U.S. national team’s intrasquad scrimmage Friday night.

George leaped to contest a fast-break layup by James Harden with 9:33 left in the fourth quarter and his leg smashed against the bottom of the backboard stanchion.

After roughly 10 minutes of stoppage, George was taken out of the arena on a stretcher. Coach Mike Krzyzewski then announced to the crowd that the scrimmage would not be finished.

“There’s no way the game could have gone on under the circumstances,” USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo said.

“Everything’s on hold right and it should be,” Krzyzewski said. “It would be so inappropriate for us to talk about anything else when there’s a serious injury like this.”

 

NBA OKC Thunder Serge Ibaka

Eurobasket Predicts Spain To Defeat Team USA At World Cup

Confidence is high among some of the media covering the 2014 World Cup in Spain starting on August 30 that Spain is built to defeat the heavily favored Team USA.

Eurobasket.com’s Mohamed Ramadan sees the match-up between the Thunder’s Kevin Durant and teammate Serge Ibaka as pivotal to Spain’s success.

“Ibaka is the only player in the Spanish roster capable of defending NBA’s most valuable player Kevin Durant. Both are Oklahoma City players training most of the time together, and having same length 6’10 each. Durant is for sure faster but Ibaka’s combination of athleticism and knowledge of his teammates game could lead him to succeed in this heavy task.”

Ramadan criticized Spain’s coach for not using Ibaka more on Durant at the London Olympics allowing Durant to score 30 points in the gold medal game. Team USA will not understimate the host team from Spain who likely represent their toughest challenge at the World Cup. The home court advantage will be significant and Spain has a roster of proven international and NBA talent that has been playing together for years. There will be no getting used to one another or adapting to new roles, everyone on Spain knows what is expected from them and has done it before.

Spain features 6 NBA players: Ricky Rubio, Jose Calderon, Victor Claver, Ibaka, Pau Gasol and Marc Gasol. However, they also carry 4 teammates from Real Madrid: Sergio Rodriguez, Sergio Llull, Rudy Fernandez and Felipe Reyes. Plus teammates Juan Carlos Navarro and Alejandro Abrines from FCB Regal. Both home court and team chemistry will be with the Spanish side.

A lot of the discussion surrounding who will ultimately play for Team USA revolves around making sure they can deal with the size and experience of Spain. Team USA will be a favorite heading into the World Cup, however, this tournament could prove to be their toughest challenge is quite some time.

 

Stephen_Brotherston_insideStephen Brotherston covers the Toronto Raptors and visiting NBA teams at the Air Canada Centre and is a member of the Professional Basketball Writers Association.

 

 

DeMar DeRozan by Paul Saini 2 (Fylmm

USA Basketball Training Camp Roster Adds DeMar DeRozan

Toronto Raptors media release:

USA Basketball announced Monday that Toronto Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan has been added to the 2014-16 Men’s National Team roster. DeRozan will be among the 19 players participating at the team’s Las Vegas training camp July 28 through August 1, USA Basketball Training Camp Roster adds DeMar DeRozan from which the 2014 USA World Cup Team will be selected.

DeRozan completed his fifth season in the NBA and ranked ninth in scoring with a career-high 22.7 points, fourth in free throws made (519) and fourth in minutes played (38.1). He also set career highs for rebounds (4.3), assists (4.0) and three-pointers made (64).

DeRozan is one of 11 players on the roster that participated in USA Basketball’s mini-camp last summer in Las Vegas. He was a member of the 2012 Select Team and the 2008 USA Junior National Select Team that competed in the Nike Hoops Summit.

Other Raptors who have competed for USA Basketball include Vince Carter (2000 Olympics), Antonio Davis (2002 FIBA World Championship) and Chris Bosh (2006 FIBA World Championship and 2008 Olympics).

“I’m very pleased about the 19 players who are now confirmed to participate in the 2014 USA National Team training camp in Las Vegas,” said USA Basketball Chairman and Managing Director Jerry Colangelo. “This group possesses outstanding individual talents, while also boasting of excellent versatility and varying amounts of USA Basketball experience. I am also pleased about the addition of DeMar DeRozan and Chandler Parsons (Dallas) to the USA National Team and to the 2014 training camp. Both played well in last summer’s USA Basketball National Team mini-camp and went on to record outstanding NBA seasons.”

The 2014 FIBA World Cup, featuring a total of 24 national teams, is scheduled to begin August 30 in Spain.

2014 USA Basketball Men’s National Team Training Camp Roster

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Washington Wizards Bradley Beal
Sacramento Kings DeMarcus Cousins
Golden State Warriors Stephen Curry
New Orleans Pelicans Anthony Davis
Toronto Raptors DeMar DeRozan
Detroit Pistons Andre Drummond
Oklahoma City Thunder Kevin Durant
Denver Nuggets Kenneth Faried
Indiana Pacers Paul George
Los Angeles Clippers Blake Griffin
Houston Rockets James Harden
Utah Jazz Gordon Hayward
Cleveland Cavaliers Kyrie Irving
Atlanta Hawks Kyle Korver
Portland Trail Blazers Damian Lillard
Minnesota Timberwolves Kevin Love
Dallas Mavericks Chandler Parsons
Chicago Bulls Derrick Rose
Golden State Warriors Klay Thompson.

Managing Director: Jerry Colangelo
Head Coach: Mike Krzyzewski, Duke University
Assistant Coach: Jim Boeheim, Syracuse University
Assistant Coach: Tom Thibodeau, Chicago Bulls
Assistant Coach: Monty Williams, New Orleans Pelicans
Athletic Trainer: Gregg Farnam, Minnesota Timberwolves
Athletic Trainer: Joe Sharpe, Oklahoma City Thunder