Colangelo, Krzyzewski downplay effects of George injury on USA Basketball

VIDEO: USAB Scrimmage Recap

HANG TIME NEW JERSEY — It’s been just four days since Paul George‘s horrific injury at the USA Basketball Showcase in Las Vegas. But the National Team has no choice but to keep moving forward.

The next phase of training for the FIBA Basketball World Cup begins Aug. 14 in Chicago, with an exhibition against Brazil scheduled for Aug. 16 at the United Center. On Tuesday morning, USA Basketball announced the 16 players who will continue with the team for those three days of action and then five days of training (including two more exhibition games) in New York.

As was reported Monday night, Bradley Beal, Paul Millsap and John Wall are the three guys who were “cut,” though you’ll never hear USA Basketball managing director Jerry Colangelo or coach Mike Krzyzewski use that word.

They did talk extensively on Tuesday afternoon. And, obviously, the aftermath of George’s injury was a big topic.

“We’ve been in communication with our players,” Colangelo said. “They are all on board. They recognize that injuries and sports go together, unfortunately. And we all have experiences that we could talk about, where players have been lost in practice, players have been lost in games and pick-up games for seasons. I personally have experienced that with my 45 years in the NBA.”

It wasn’t long after George broke his leg that people (rightfully) started to wonder how the injury — seen on national television — would affect the willingness of NBA players to play in international competitions in the summer. And we won’t really know if it will until 2016, when Colangelo calls on players for the Olympics in Brazil.

But he believes the pull of representing your country will overcome any risks players might see in playing competitively in the offseason.

“To be able to represent your country is what it’s all about,” Colangelo said. “It is about being patriotic. It is about selfless service. And our players get that. All you need to do is ask any of them who have been involved with us in our last three competitions and they would, to a man, say they feel they’re better people, better players, and felt a real warming within their soul to represent their country.”

NBA owners, of course, deserve a say in the matter. Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, who has long been a critic of NBA guys playing for their country without compensation, continues to advocate for an international tournament run by the NBA.

“I think people need to read between the lines,” Colangelo said of Cuban’s comments. “He’s against international competition when he believes the beneficiary, being the IOC, is getting the money. So he’s basically saying it’s OK for our players to play internationally if the money goes to the NBA and to the team owners. That’s the difference.”

That’s a discussion for another day. Right now, there’s nothing Cuban or other owners can do.

“It’s pretty hard to keep players from playing the game,” Colangelo said. “That’s their core. They’re going to play pick-up games. They’re going to play any place they can. And injuries are a part of the whole process. That’s just part of the game. And we have to get by that. But who is to say what’s going to take place going forward. Right now, we’re dealing with the here and now, and that is one step at a time, Chicago, New York and Spain. We have a job to do and hopefully, we can accomplish our goal.”

What about short-term effects of George’s injury. Might the risks of playing competitively be in the back of the minds of the 16 guys left on the roster when they practice begins next Thursday? Krzyzewski didn’t sound concerned.

“I think our guys will go after it,” he said. “I don’t think there will be a lingering effect in that regard. In fact, I think it could be opposite. I think our guys might go after it even harder to honor Paul.”

USA Men’s National Team, remaining roster

Player Team POS Height Age NBA Exp. National team exp.
DeMarcus Cousins SAC C 6-11 24 4
Stephen Curry GSW PG-SG 6-3 26 5 2010
Anthony Davis NOP C 6-10 21 2 2012
DeMar DeRozan TOR SG-SF 6-7 25 5
Andre Drummond DET C 6-10 21 2
Kevin Durant OKC SF-PF 6-9 25 7 2010, 2012
Kenneth Faried DEN PF 6-8 24 3
James Harden HOU SG-SF 6-5 25 5 2012
Gordon Hayward UTA SG-SF 6-8 24 4
Kyrie Irving CLE PG 6-3 22 3
Kyle Korver ATL SG-SF 6-7 33 11
Damian Lillard POR PG-SG 6-3 24 2
Chandler Parsons DAL SF-PF 6-9 25 3
Mason Plumlee BKN C 6-11 24 1
Derrick Rose CHI PG 6-3 25 5 2010
Klay Thompson GSW SG-SF 6-7 24 3


  1. my Final 12 picks would be says:

    5 : Davis, Cousins
    4 : Durant, Parsons
    3 : Hayward, DeRozan
    2 : Harden, Curry
    1 : D-Rose, Lillard

    Cover: Faried, Korver

    With a squad like that, there’s pretty much cover that goes three deep at all positions – except Center. But Coach K has shown in the past he can use PF’s at Center. Durant will probably be asked to cover there as well. Faried, even though small by international PF standards – could, at a pinch, play Center too. So technically, the three deep scenario is true for every position. The 1 & 2 positions have the most depth – with Curry making a squad that could field four PG’s, or even four SG’s! But with D-Rose & Lllard in there, Harden, Curry (and Korver) can share minutes at the 2. Durant, Parsons and Korver can also cover the 3, so again, a lot of depth. As my picks show, there’s no weak link at any point in the chain. If i have to say anything… i just feel sorry for opposition teams that have to face the U.S, at any point. Go Team USA!!!

  2. renzo says:

    cuts: my prediction- lillard-plumlee-parsons-hayward

  3. guyoninternet says:

    in international competition, because it’s a group of players they’re not used to playing with and a system they’re not used to playing in, it’s more out of control. you combine that with the fact that international competitions are very intense because there’s just a few games (you have one bad game and it can change your whole tournament), and people get intense when playing for their countries. especially against the us because everybody wants to beat the us. this combination of factors possibly makes injuries more likely.

  4. no legit center, not good enough to win over the gasol team……….
    ……..GOODBYE TEAM USA……….

  5. Ants says:

    I think its awesome that at age 33, Kyle gets his chance next such superstars 🙂

  6. Davante says:

    Keep Derrick Rose!!!😃

    • B-Baller says:

      wow, what a “fan” you are. Yes, spain CAN beat them now, but why do you need to say it. Ohh, I get it, because your a troll.

  7. Dionte Christmas says:

    Too many shoot-first point guards, but how do you cut that level of star power? Coach K with some tough decisions to make in crafting a team with solid balance and chemistry.

    • Dionte Christmas says:

      Also interesting there are no true power forwards other than Faried. I guess we’re either going for small ball or a twin-towers kind of lineup. Really makes Anthony Davis a crucial part of the squad if the latter.

      • NBAfan says:

        International teams don’t have ‘true PFs’. Durant will be the center of this team and he will mostly play as the 4 like Carmelo has done in the past. ‘Shoot first’ is a play style, not a capability. If the players buy into their roles and what the US national team is trying to do, then who cares what they like to do with their corresponding NBA teams? I trust the coaches know who will fill that role, and I think the players who really wants to be on the team will do what they need to do to stay on.

        I think shooting is a strength for this squad, but I think they lack the perimeter lock-down defender that they had before PG’s injury, and when guys like Iguodala and Lebron were in the squad. Team defense is now key, and Anthony Davis can really shine as the US teams Kevin Garnett on Defense.

  8. harriethehawk says:

    Who will be cut? Better not be Kyle Korver!!!!