USA camp – Day 1 notes

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Kevin Durant and Team USA started training camp in Las Vegas on Monday.

LAS VEGAS – The big story on Day 1 of USA Basketball training camp was Derrick Rose. By all accounts, Rose looked good. And he certainly believes that he’s got the goods to be one of the best players in the world again.

But Rose was one of 31 players in the gym on Monday, and while he’s trying to get the rust off and get his wind back, USA Basketball managing director Jerry Colangelo and head coach Mike Krzyzewski have a team to put together for the FIBA Basketball World Cup, which begins a month from Wednesday.

The media was let in for the final 15 minutes of Day 1 scrimmaging. Five minutes of that was a scrimmage against the Select Team, and the final 10 minutes was an intra-squad scrimmage between two groups of Senior Team guys.

Here are the lineups we saw…

1. Kyrie Irving, Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Kenneth Faried and DeMarcus Cousins
2. John Wall, Curry, Gordon Hayward, Faried and Cousins
3. Rose, James Harden, Paul George, Kevin Durant and Anthony Davis
4. Damian Lillard, DeMar DeRozan, Kyle Korver, Durant and Andre Drummond
5. Irving, Bradley Beal, Thompson, Chandler Parsons and Paul Millsap
6. Lillard, Harden, George, Durant and Drummond
7. Wall, Curry, Hayward, Faried and Cousins

Some notes…

  • No. 3 above could certainly be a starting lineup when the U.S. plays its first exhibition game against Brazil on Aug. 16 or when it opens the World Cup against Finland two weeks later. It features four guys with National Team experience and George, who’s the obvious pick to start alongside Durant at the other forward spot (the Andre Iguodala role from 2010).
  • We only saw Curry playing the two, alongside either Irving or Wall. But afterward, he said he doesn’t see himself strictly as a two with this team. “I play both,” he said. “I’m obviously better equipped [than the others] to play the two, but I can push in transition and initiate the offense if I need to. I got to be able to do both and guard both positions as well.”
  • But if Curry is thought of as a two, that certainly changes the point guard competition, which should be the hottest in camp. “The competition is stiff,” Lillard said. “It’s one of those things where if you’re the guy that doesn’t happen to be chosen, you can’t be mad, because everybody here is worthy of being on the team.”
  • Lillard on what could make him stand out: “My ability to adapt. I think I could do a really good job of figuring out what this team needs me to do and do it great. That’s being able to knock down shots. With my time on the floor, I can really defend, if that’s what they need. Make plays. Find that role that they need me to play and play it to the best of my ability.” He added that “you can play defense much harder” when you’re only out there for four or five minutes at a time.
  • In a few lineups, we saw Faried and Cousins playing together. And yes, they controlled the glass.
  • In another, we saw Parsons and Millsap playing the four and five. This is a more standard U.S. lineup (only one true big on the floor), but Drummond pushed Millsap around a little bit.
  • Drummond still looks raw. He missed a couple of short jump hooks pretty badly.
  • It’s weird to imagine Cousins representing the U.S. in a hostile, international environment, but seeing him in this environment, you can see how he could make an impact.
  • He’s a beast, and there aren’t many players in the world that can match up with him, especially if he just plays off others as a roll man and finisher in the paint.
  • Defensively, with FIBA rules, Cousins can hang close to the basket and defend the rim. In the few minutes we saw him on Monday, he blocked or altered at least three shots.
  • Still, there will remain a fear that Cousins will lose his cool with international officiating or decide, in a big moment, to dribble the ball up the floor himself. If he wants to make the team, he has to prove that he can stay disciplined in more ways than one.
  • I tweeted out this roster-construction chart Monday morning. After Day 1, you can probably move Curry to the “2/3″ list.
  • This shouldn’t be any surprise if you’ve watched this team over the last several years, but we saw some half-court trapping on Monday. This team will try to force tempo as much with its defense as it does with its offense.


VIDEO: Take a slow-motion look at Team USA’s opening practice from Las Vegas

31 Comments

  1. cp10 says:

    Fear the beard – bigger and fuller than ever.

  2. ThunderUp35 says:

    PG: John Wall Kyrie Irving Damian Lillard Derrick Rose
    SG: James Harden Bradley Beal Steph Curry
    SF: Paul George Kevin Durant
    PF: Anthony Davis Kenneth Farried
    C: Andre Drummond

  3. W2. says:

    PG: Rose, Wall, Irving
    SG: Curry, Harden, Thompson
    SF: George, Durant, Korver
    Big: Davis, Cousins, Faried

  4. I am wondering how the restructuring of the international court will change things?? I’m not sure but I believe last time they still had the trapezoid land and high school or college 3pt line.

    I still can’t see John wall on this team without a jump shot though he may be the best defending point guard.

    Kenneth Farried and Paul Millsap are two underrated prospects, both good defenders and rebounders with Millsap being the more skilled offensive player.

    Demarcus Cousins may get the Charles Barkley treatment where he becomes a necessary risk.

    I think coach K will implement a college style game with guards who do a load of damage from the perimeter and forwards and bigs who clean up.

  5. Kenneth Williams says:

    Off the topic but who came up with the d-league name 67ers its so wrong in every way its like they had the 1 and dones name the team 67erers how’s that even though it should be the 67s even grade school kids know this. Just makes the team more laughable

  6. Lucky Star says:

    Worried about the D. Lot of bad defenders talking a good game about how since they’ll have less to do offensively they’ll playing really hard on D. But defense is more than just effort, it’s also talent and skill, and the sum of your habits, and a lot of these guys (like Lillard and Irving) haven’t developed much in the way of skill and habits. And guys like Parsons and Harden, who can play good defense but usually don’t, may find changing their habits isn’t as easy as flipping a switch.

  7. fred wilkie says:

    How about this lineup wilt chamberlain, Julius Erving,Oscar Robertson, Bob Cousy, and Bill Russell

  8. Einstein says:

    A number of great players are noticeably missing. I know Lebron & Carmelo have put in their time and this would be their 3rd Olympics, but I’d still like to see them out there. Who else is noticeably missing?
    – Russell Westbrook
    – Kevin Love
    – Dwight Howard
    – Brook Lopez
    – LaMarcus Aldridge

  9. Kenneth Williams says:

    I really wish the olympics would go back to college players only again cause its becoming like the all-star game no competition really except Spain and in all its just not good for the game anymore

  10. Kenneth Williams says:

    I have no idea how you put Anthony davis ahead of Cousins. Boogie is unstoppable anyone who watches Kings games fan or not knows that. For those who say he’s a head case are smoking he was officiated different and refs were way to quick to blow whistles on him but since the sale of the kings to Vivek suddenly he’s treated better by the league. Only reason the so called stars dont like playing against him cause he doesn’t back down from them and is all buddies on the court. Last year he was top 3 bigs in the league I had Hilbert 1 cousins 2 howard 3 only cause howard plays only when he wants this year Boogie best big man in the league 2nd howard and now I would put brook Lopez or al Jefferson 3rd hibbert falls out completley just how he handled things last year in indiana and how he disappeared end of season and actually I would put Noah before howard

  11. Emeka Nnaji says:

    Im really disappointed that Love dropped out last min. He did extremely well in 2010 and was instrumental to their success. USA is going in there a little underhanded at the 4 and 5 position again. It is a risky formula that paid off last time, hopefully it will again. K. Love is that missing piece. I wonder how the inexperienced, but extremely talented trio of Davis, Cousin’s, and Drummond is going to fair against Spain and the likes of Ibaka, and the Gasol brothers.

  12. TaPeLoOp says:

    For me number 3 is going to be number 6 or mayb..

    Lillard George Durant Davis Drummond
    Irving Jwall Thompson Faried Cousins

  13. Blantone says:

    PG: Curry, Irving, Wall
    SG: Klay, Rose
    SF: George, Harden
    PF: Durant, Faried/Parson
    C: Drummond, Davis, Cousins/Millsap

  14. PinoyBasketball says:

    I think no. 3 will be the best team since it is balance as to offense and defense. I wish #gilas could play them in US for practice.

  15. IDOL says:

    I agree No.2 definitely has to be the starter.

    Rose
    Harden
    George
    Durant
    Davis

    then bench should be

    Irving
    Curry
    Thompson
    Derozan
    Cousins
    Parsons
    Faried

    That’s as complete as you could get. Scoring won’t be a problem EVER for a US team. Defense and athleticism are strength of US that other nations can’t mess with.

  16. UNTALENTED TEAMS PLAYS DIRTY AND TAKE CHEAP SHOTS LIKE THE WARRIORS AND BULLS says:

    TYPO…CHEAP NOT CHEAT…THEN AGAIN

  17. Capitan Obvious says:

    With no dominant center in the middle. Spain will surely dominate the inside.

    Just my two cents.

    • James Soften says:

      No dominant Center? WTF? Have you ever watched Cousins and Drummond playing?

      The ideal starting five for me would be:
      Rose
      Curry
      Durant
      Davis
      Cousins

      Second squad:
      Lillard
      DeRozan
      George
      Faried
      Drummond

      And do not forget about Brazil with Nenê, Varejão and Splitter

  18. carson says:

    lilerd………..

  19. Steph Curry
    James Harden
    Paul George
    Kevin Durant
    Anthony Davis

    Derrick Rose
    Bradley Beal
    Klay Thompson
    Kenneth Faried
    Demarcus Cousins

    Kyrie Irving / John Wall
    Demar Derozan / Kyle Korver

  20. schmeal says:

    Lillard, curry, Thompson, Durant, davis . #buckets!

  21. name says:

    lineups 2 and 7 are identical

  22. TheKush says:

    I see a lot of Offense and one shot blocker in Anthony Davis Kenneth Faried and DeMarcus Cousins that’s all they have in the middle? Interesting… DeAndre Jordan wasn’t available then again I guess they weren’t trying to build a dominant team!

    • centers shouldnt bowl says:

      drummond dude. drummond

    • SACKINGS says:

      Boogie is a beast in the middle, apparently you haven’t spent much time watching him play. Almost every center has trouble guarding him and he absolutely destroyed Dwight Howard on a few occasions last season. Really the only guy I saw who really gave him trouble was Marc Gasol in Memphis. Admittedly, DeMarcus isn’t the worlds best shot blocker, though he is quite adept at drawing charges and is an absolute beast on the boards.

      As far as DeAndre Jordan as a possible replacement for DeMarcus is concerned..DeAndre’s inability to make free throws is a huge minus. Boogie has much more skill on the offensive end than DJ, proof of which is in the box scores: DeMarcus outplayed DeAndre in all four meetings between the Clips and Kings this year, badly in three of the four games.

      • enderwilson says:

        Few players in the league (much less internationally) could handle DMC and Anthony Davis and Dwight Howard were NOT among them. Marc Gasol, Andrew Bogut, and Jared Sullinger were the only players who gave Demarcus problems last season. It’s funny to me how ignorant people are about DMCs skills and abilities. It’s like they’ve used his emotion and competitiveness as an excuse to blind themselves from the fact that he is the most skilled big-man in the league. Hype and previous success may have elevated players like AD and Howard in most people’s eyes, but DMC has and will continue to be a dominant force in the NBA. Anyone failing to see this is only kidding themselves.

    • Bball says:

      I think the roster’s good enough to dominate. The bigs will create adequate trouble for the international big men anyway.

    • UNTALENTED TEAMS PLAYS DIRTY AND TAKE CHEAT SHOTS LIKE THE WARRIORS AND BULLS says:

      Sorry but they want people that are great not good at both ends of the floor

    • Kenneth Williams says:

      The only guy that gave Boogie Monster problems last year is Marc Gasol otherwise he tortured everyone else maybe if people would stop being bandwagon fans you will know your players but I would also be fine with monroe and drummond also