Team USA Select Basketball Showcase

Posted on 26. Jul, 2009 by Nolan Shulman in NBA, Team USA

Last night Team USA put on a scrimmage in front of thousands at the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas Nevada. 19 players were invited to the camp this summer with an opportunity to pick up one of the 4 spots remaining on the USA Men’s National team. Although the game contained very little defense, the young guns for team USA put on a heck of a show.

ROSTER
Kevin Durant
Rudy Gay
Greg Oden
OJ Mayo
Brook Lopez
Paul Millsap
David Lee
Eric Gordon
Kevin Love
JaVale McGee
Ronnie Brewer
Kyle korver
DJ Augustine
Derrick Rose
Anthony Randolph
Russell Westbrook
Josh Smith
Andre Igoudala
Thadeus Young

Greg Oden was probably the player that surprised me the most. He looked healthy, active, and played excellent basketball. He established good post position, ran the floor well, and protected the rim the way I know he’s capable. He also dominated the boards, picking up 10 rebounds in just 24 minutes. Greg has had a rough start to his NBA career but if what I saw this week is any indication, his career is headed in the right direction. I’m not sure he’s a great fit for the international game, nor do I think he will be one of the 4 players selected, however this week was a huge step in the right direction for the former high school phenom and Ohio State Buckeye. If he plays this well for Portland this season, the Trail Blazers have a legit chance to win the West.

Another player that really impressed me was OJ Mayo. He scores with such ease and in so many different fashions he’s almost impossible to guard. If the recent rumors that Memphis is after Allen Iverson are true, Memphis could become the highest scoring backcourt in the NBA next year. OJ has a very real chance of making the National team, however with Dwayne Wade and Kobe Bryant already committed to return, it’s not neccesarily a huge need for Coach K. On merit and talent, OJ deserves the opportunity, however Managing Director of Team USA Jerry Colangelo might elect to solidify their need for big men instead.

Kevin Durant is probably the only lock on the select team and will be headed to the World Championships with LeBron, Carmelo, and Wade. His ability to play both the 2 and 3 make him a valuable commodity for team USA. His length will allow him to guard 3 positions, and his ability to score may be counted on at the World Championships. He’s going to be the face of team USA one day and it will be extremely beneficial for him to go through the experience with the veteran players coming back. Durant is my pick to win the NBA scoring title this season. He proved what kind of player he could be for team USA last night going off for 20 points and 8 rebounds.

The game’s leading scorer was Rudy Gay. He made 11 of his 12 shots for 27 points, doing it in just 27 minutes. I’m not sure if he’ll get picked to team USA even though he’s probably been the second best player on the select team. With Durant getting a spot and LeBron and Carmelo already on the team, I just don’t see where he fits in. It likely won’t happen for him this time around, but you can rest assured he will represent his country some day very soon.

Brook Lopez has also opened some eyes this week. He had 18 points on 7-8 shooting, and may very well make the squad. The team is desperate for big men, and Brook is perfect for the international game. He runs the floor well, rebounds, and is a true center. He can play up and down and would benefit enormously from the experience of playing behind Dwight Howard. They may elect to go with Dwight as the only true center on the team again, considering the success they had with that look in Beijing. But if they do decide to find a backup for Dwight, Brook is certainly in the mix.

Another player’s chances I really like is Derrick Rose. Even though Team USA already has a commitment from both Deron Williams and Chris Paul, it makes sense to bring Derrick along to learn as he will one day be the starting point guard on Team USA. Deron has the skill set to slide over to the two, and team USA went with that look pretty freequently in Beijing. He didn’t have a great game last night, but last years Rookie of the Year had a great week of practice.

Overall it was a great experience and great time for everyone involved in last nights festivities. The players had the opportunity to put team USA on their backs, a moment they will cherish for the rest of their lives, while the fans got to see America’s up and coming talent showcase their game’s and entertain the crowd.

Here are the 4 players I would select if I were Jerry Colangelo (and obviously I’m not).

Kevin Durant
Derrick Rose
OJ Mayo
Brook Lopez

BOX SCORE from last nights game

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One Response to “Team USA Select Basketball Showcase”

  1. Cole

    28. Jul, 2009

    You would pick Brook Lopez over Greg Oden?

    Great picture.

    Reply to this comment

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