Thursday Scrimmage Impressions

Posted by John Schuhmann

LAS VEGAS – The media got to watch the final 10-minute scrimmage between the U.S. Senior Team and the Select Team on Thursday. The Senior Team won 26-16. Here are a few impressions.

First, here are the lineups we saw:
1. Rajon Rondo, Chauncey Billups, Kevin Durant, Kevin Love, Lamar Odom
2. Russell Westbrook, Eric Gordon, Durant, Jeff Green, Gerald Wallace
3. Westbrook, O.J. Mayo, Durant, Jeff Green, JaVale McGee
4. Westbrook, Mayo, Durant, Love, McGee

So you can tell a few things just from that.

First, Durant is The Man on this team. And afterward, in answering a question about the training process, coach Mike Krzyzewski talked about players getting used to three or four-minute stints in the lineup, but then talked about Durant getting used to 10-minute stints. Clearly, the league’s leading scorer is going to carry a big load on Team USA.

Second impression from the lineups (the first two, specifically) is that guys like Odom and Wallace are really going to play the five.

Don’t worry about guys who didn’t play. Again, this was just the last scrimmage of the day. Although Tyreke Evans sat out the entire day with a sore ankle and Danny Granger sat out the scrimmage portion with a bruised shin. Both may be back in action tomorrow.

Durant said afterward that he’s been holding back a little offensively, but for that last 10 minutes, the staff told him to be more aggressive. And he clearly was, scoring 14 of his team’s 26 points, and also dishing out two assists.

Six of the points came on catch-and-shoot threes. Two came on a pull-up, foul-line jumper off a curl screen. And the other six came at the free throw line after aggressive drives into the paint.

After Durant, I think the star of the 10 minutes was McGee. The last-minute addition to the roster was active. He had a block, a couple of interior shot-contests and a few strong rebounds, two of them offensive and one of those a huge put-back dunk off a Durant miss. McGee did go 0-for-2 from the line though.

Point guard shooting is going to be a big topic with this team, and Rondo missed two wide open threes in his time on the floor.

Saw some aggressive pick-and-roll defense from Love and a couple of dice deflections from Gordon.

The one player who stood out for the Select Team was Trey Thompkins, who will be a junior at Georgia this fall and was one of the stars on the U19 World Championship team last year. And not coincidentally, I noticed Jerry Colangelo talking to Thompkins after practice. Thompkins’ highlight was a jump hook over Durant on a post-up.

Dayton’s Chris Wright had the Select Team defensive highlight of the scrimmage though, stripping Durant clean on a drive to the hoop.

John Schuhmann is a staff writer for NBA.com. Follow him on twitter.

24 Comments

  1. […] USA trotted out in their scrimmage with the Select Team on Thursday…with one exception (per John Schuhmann): 1. Rajon Rondo, Chauncey Billups, Kevin Durant, Kevin Love, Lamar Odom 2. Russell Westbrook, Eric […]

  2. TC. says:

    Rose doesn’t have to start! lol. He probably will because he’s good. But a lot of the best players come off the bench in international league play.

    I’m mad that people don’t read: It was only the LAST scrimmage of the day and it was 10-MINUTES long! lol. calm down.

  3. Richard says:

    What about Derrick Rose? Hes hands down the best point guard in that line up and top 3 in the nba. Hes has to start!!!

  4. Doug says:

    I believe Durant will become the best player in the league because they don´t compare him to anybody else and he´s all about basketball.

  5. Doug says:

    There are alot of osibbilities. I think Mcgee should get some burn because he´s hungry and will be very aggressive. he might have to learn the eurpean game, but he might already know some about it since his mom was a ball player. I am sure she played overseas in Europe. he will be a great basketball player. He´s 7´1. How many 7´1 players are there in the league.
    I also think D-rose and Curry would compliment each other well.

  6. […] Jon Schuhmann of NBA.com on yesterday’s Team USA scrimmage: “First, Durant is The Man on this team. And afterward, in answering a question about the training process, coach Mike Krzyzewski talked about players getting used to three or four-minute stints in the lineup, but then talked about Durant getting used to 10-minute stints. Clearly, the league’s leading scorer is going to carry a big load on Team USA.” […]

  7. tracshortie says:

    Ok I liked most of the rotations but I think some minor adjustments can be made and billups should be in at least 2 of the line ups. Durant of the man from his debut to the league he has proven himself worth he is a very skilled player that loves the game of Basketball. With a few more years under his belt as he gains more experience Durant will become unstoppable and guess what he will not stop until he does just that. Right now its about Kobe and James but don’t anyone sleep on the young Durant.

  8. Daniel says:

    Starting 5- Rose, igi, durant, wallace, lopez

    second rotation- rondo, billups, gay, odom, chandler

    bench- westbrook, love, curry,

    GO GO USA

  9. richard says:

    They’re probably just playing it safe with Rose so he doesn’t get accidentally injured out there. I think the staff looks at him as the most valuable guy out of all of them, maybe the league for that matter. Can’t wait til Saturday so I can see him play again!!

  10. richard says:

    They’re probably just playing it safe so Rose doesn’t get accidentally injured out there. I think he might be the most valuable one out of all of them, maybe the league for that matter. Can’t wait for Saturday to see him play again.

  11. faceart says:

    I’m intrigued by the possibilities of these young, athletic guys. It’ll be interesting to see how the USA fairs when it’s the second tier superstars and up and comers being thrown out there against the world.

    Here’s my 12, but I could see them adding in another shooter (Gordon, Mayo) and getting rid of AI:

    Starting 5:
    Rose, Billups, Durant, Gay, Odom

    Bench:

    Rondo, Iguodala, Granger, Wallace, Love, Lopez, Curry

  12. fred says:

    ok wow just read ur point from above…sorry didnt see that the other players played earliar…ok totally retract my previous statement…

  13. fred says:

    where is d rose or stephen curry..i feel like i read alot of your articles and you have no idea what you are talking about because you leave out players from the team all the time…its really not even worth my time to read the…you only named a certain percentage of the players in the team in your article..why not all? Pay attention

    • Nom Nom says:

      THANK YOU. Finally someone who agrees with me. This “analyst” is rediculous and doesn’t have a clue what he’s rambling about. I wonder how in hell he got hired by NBA.com.

  14. Ravi says:

    DO you guys realise brook lopez put up 19 and 9 last year………he is a better scorer then dwight howard

  15. johnschuhmann says:

    ngongo & don
    As I wrote above, this was just the last of the day’s scrimmages. Not all 17 guys (that aren’t injured) can play in a 10-minute period. We didn’t see Curry, Iguodala, Gay, Chandler or Lopez play either, but I’m sure they all got run in the earlier scrimmages.

    • Nick says:

      What starting lineup would you go for?

      Mine would be Rose, Curry, Durant, Wallace, Lopez

      People may say its too inexperienced but Durant and Rose are the leaders of 2 young playoff teams who are contenders to get to conference finals, with Billups, Chandler and Odom on the bench to provide more experience and guidance to some of the younger ones.

  16. Dre says:

    Wat do u have against Russell Westbrook? Nba show him no love. Its all politics. Nba picks there faces of the league out of college. Wat does this man have to do? Score a 100pts.

  17. Altruistik says:

    The lineup possibilities are fascinating. I think they’ll have a quick unit and a big unit to account for all the match ups. I cant wait to see the all game ball pressure by the PG’s that is possible with this team. I think the lack of versatile bigs, that is so big in the FIBA game, could hurt us; along with the lack of shooters from the PG spot. I’m eager to see this team at MSG in a few weeks.

  18. Don says:

    uhhh where’s D.Rose?

  19. Antonio says:

    Starting 5
    1.Rose,Billups,Durant,Odom,McGee

    Bench:
    Rondo,Evans,Granger,Love,Wallace
    Lopez,Curry

  20. remember what sekou said guys that last scrimmage was to get looks at certain combos of players. this is great and i think w/amare unavailable javale’s time has arrived. still fresh off vegas summer league now w/ USAB. again my concern is that we my not bring too many bigs w/us. i think w/what we have @ this point now

    pgs- billups, rose, rondo
    sgs- ai, evans (wouldn’t be suprised to see curry tho)
    sfs- kd, granger, wallace
    pfs- love, mcgee
    c- chandler, b. lopez

    yes i know rondo is a one way player (pg only) & curry is a 3pt. shooter but spain’s backcourt is a problem.
    navarro, calderon, rubio, those guys need to feel the wrath of our pgs offensively & defensively. how quickly ppl forget that rondo has a ring, just came outta finals, he could be our 2010 j. kidd not taking any shots or looking to score just facilitating. playing agressive d and rebounding, it’s time we expose rubio whom in my opinion is extremely overrated. i think we have the shooters already in my sfs picks even love could shoot the three if we let him loose, yeah other teams might have bigger centers than us but we’ll have bigger and more versatile forwards than them.

  21. ngongo says:

    Where is D-Rose?

  22. Kevon says:

    Javale McGee is a MAJOR sleeper in the World Championship