Tommy Sheppard is in Shanghai for the group stage of th…

Tommy Sheppard is in Shanghai for the group stage of the FIBA World Cup to watch Rui Hachimura and Team Japan take on a tough Group E, a field that includes the Czech Republic, Turkey and the United States. It’s an unusual move, one that certainly isn’t expected out of someone running the entire basketball operations for an NBA team.

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Many who made the team weren't prominent or in many cases, even included on USA Basketball's wishlist of players when the roster-building process started last year. Walker tried to say none of that matters. And then he explained why it probably should matter. "I think a lot of us have grown up with doubt coming into our careers," Walker said. "It's nothing new to us. That's unnecessary at this point. Nobody really cares what people think. At the end of the day, we want to win. We have one goal: We want to win the gold medal. And we want to be here."
"This is do-or-die now," Harris said. "There are no more exhibitions, no more mulligans at it. We've talked about how important every single possession is in the FIBA game. You have 40 minutes of 'can't turn the ball over, can't make mental mistakes'. Now it is 40 minutes of being locked in and we have enough depth on this team, on the roster, to play maximum effort whenever you're on the court."
"We obviously hear the noise," said Harrison Barnes, the only member of that Olympic team who is on this World Cup roster. "But at the end of the day, we're the ones that are putting in the time, we're the ones that have to live with the results and we're the ones who have to come together as a team. I think that's what's most important."
Here the old master is working, it's the 22-year-old Mitchell who he's entrusting to guide this important enterprise. Popovich seems to see the leadership qualities in Mitchell that Jazz leadership and his Utah teammates have talked about for the last two years. "There's a lot of learning going on here," Mitchell said. "This last month has helped me in tremendous ways."
While Mitchell knows how important a big three weeks would be for his brand, this isn't about marketing. Popovich wouldn't tolerate such motivations anyway. Mitchell is serious about this. He's impressed his Team USA teammates with his intensity in practice and his film study in the run-up to Sunday's opener. "You wouldn't think he's the age he is, he's ahead of his years," Walker said. "He a natural-born leader. His skill set is unbelievable. He's a great player but he knows he has so much room for improvement. He wants to work."
For Team USA's Harrison Barnes, the opportunity to represent the United States at the 2019 FIBA World Cup is something he appreciates. He also is welcoming the chance to play for San Antonio Spurs and USA head coach Gregg Popovich. "Opportunity to come play for your country, compete with these guys, get better," said Barnes to reporters. "And the opportunity to be coached by a guy like coach Pop, who’s one of the greatest coaches in NBA history, and maybe in all sports history."
Nurse is having a blast doing the two things he loves more than anything outside his nearest and dearest: He’s coaching basketball and he’s experiencing a part of the world he has never seen before. “Are you kidding me?,” Nurse replied when asked about his time coaching Team Canada this summer. “I’ve never been to Australia, I’ve never been to China. Every day is fascinating to me. It’s such an adventure … You get to coach basketball, you get to play in an incredible tournament in incredible venues. I don’t know. I just come outside every day and look around and say ‘What an adventure? How could this not be fun?’”
“I’m excited about the competition on top of that,” Nurse said. “As a basketball coach, that is what you do. You live for the competition and try to figure out how to get a group of guys to beat another group of guys.”
Melvin Ejim, one of the few returning veterans on this team has been impressed. “He’s a good guy, man,” Ejim said following Canada’s first practice in Dongguan. “He’s fun, a great coaching mind, I think everything so far … there’s a reason why we’ve been growing step by step, every time we’ve been playing better, we’ve been improving things, and I think that he’s done a great job so far and hopefully, we can continue throughout the whole tournament.”
With Ricky Rubio coming from a great game and him being one of the most prominent NBA stars in the FIBA World Cup, the Spanish guard was asked during the press conference after the game between Spain and Tunisia to comment on the absences of NBA players. Rubio was cautious on his answer and also asked for everyone to focus on the players who are present in China: “It’s a tough question because I don’t know every case. Everyone has a different reason. You can’t judge them all the same way. That been said, of course, you want to compete, to give everything for your country, but at the same time you have to take care of yourself too. It’s either yourself or your family some times. Life is bigger than basketball, and we can’t forget that. Still, we can’t focus on the players who are not here. We have to focus on the players who are here in this tournament. The ones who are not, I bet they have a good reason for not being here”.
The 2019 FIBA World Cup will be special for every player, but Luis Scola has one additional reason to enjoy the tournament. At China, the 39-year-old forward will represent Argentina for the record-equaling fifth time in a World Cup. “I love the game and representing my country so much, that is more than just a game for me” he points out, FIBA relays. “I always feel an intense passion and love for playing the game at international level, to be here, with my teammates, wearing the blue and white jersey” adds Scola. “I know that a lot of the guys from my generation retired, but I feel like playing a bit more, so I am still here, older, but still here to be on the court, traveling and cheering for my teammates.”
Italy last played at the flagship event back in 2006, during the last World Cup held in Asia. One of the players who saw action for the Azzurri back then is San Antonio Spurs three-point specialist Marco Belinelli, who remembers his previous World Cup experience well. "Being back in the World Cup is a very big achievement," he said. "It's a great competition, and I was on that 2006 team. We had a young team then, but we've always seen this as a great and important competition."
From the first day this team got together in Las Vegas four weeks ago, Popovich has been trying to foster chemistry with the mashed together group. Indeed, he's held a few of his marathon dinners where he's tried to lay the groundwork. But them going out as a group on their own made him smile. "They've become close in a short period of time," Popovich said. "The camaraderie has blossomed, and I think that will bode well for us."
The loss last week in Australia wasn't a picnic and the players had to go from answering questions about all the stars who aren't with them to explaining how they ended their 78-game win streak. The cheer, for now, remains. "You have to enjoy being with people in order to feel responsible for them," Popovich said. "To be accountable to each other, you have to have some sort of empathetic bond. You have to love each other to a degree."
"We have great chemistry I think. We're getting along really well," Kemba Walker said after practice Friday at an international school in the Pudong section of the sprawling city. "We want to play for each other and that's the biggest thing."
What about the Jazz aspect of this? This is a huge year for you guys. How do you see the ripple effect here in terms of the positives vs. the negatives and how it all measures out? Quin Snyder: Well, I think on the whole it’s extremely beneficial. I go back to individual players and where they are. And in Donovan’s case, I keep hearing about just reinforcing the importance of defending. That’s something he believes in, but formulating those habits in a competitive environment where there’s something on the line? Those are situations that are hard to replicate, so the leadership opportunities that he’s had, I see those things as being (positive) — the responsibility of making decisions at crucial times in games — I think all those things really help. I think in Joe’s case, there’s a passion for the game that I think this summer Joe is finding. Not that it was lost, but there’s an enthusiasm that I think he has about the upcoming season that this experience will serve to kind of stoke it even more.
Quin Snyder: Well, I think with Donovan, I’ve been in touch with him frequently, just trying to provide him whatever feedback you can after seeing him play, after talking to someone on their (Team USA) staff. The feedback you get, if you can relay that to him and try to help him, that’s something you want to do. As much as anything, it’s reinforcing what he is committed to and giving him feedback on that. Same thing, really, with Rudy and Joe as far as just being in communication with them. It’s less trying to (talk to them too much). You don’t want to try to coach them, because you’re not the coach (at the moment).
Olgun Uluc: Cory Joseph is here in Dongguan. Conor Morgan was also added to the team. Canada lost Oshae Brissett (leg injury), then cut Aaron Best and Duane Notice.
As Gregg Popovich and his esteemed assistant coaches for Team USA sit each day to discuss just what they have to work with and who they can count on in the upcoming FIBA World Cup, the conversation keeps coming back to Harrison Barnes. It may sound harsh, but Barnes is the only player for Team USA who “knows how to win,” if for no other reason than Barnes is the lone player on the American roster who has won an NBA championship. He also won a gold medal in the summer of 2016 with TUSA at the Olympics — he’s the only player on this team with one of those as well.
“Pop trusts him,” said USA assistant Steve Kerr, who was Barnes’ head coach with Golden State for two years. “Pop talks about it all the time with our staff. He knows he can count on him to make the right play and to execute under pressure.”
Those fans remember Barnes on their TVs in the Finals, too. “Just from what I’ve seen from our experience so far, trying to help guys understand what it means to play on an international stage and what we’re going to have to go through to win it,” Barnes said, when asked how his past championships can help here. “Anytime you have championship experience, whether it was just that journey of going through it, whether it was in ’15 or ’16, whatever it is, that just helps you in this process because you have eight games to lock in and do something special.”
Meo Sacchetti cut out Giampaolo Ricci and Brian Sacchetti from Italy’s roster for the World Cup and the 12 remaining players to compete in China are the following: Amedeo Della Valle, Marco Belinelli, Alessandro Gentile, Paul Biligha, Luca Vitali, Danilo Gallinari, Daniel Hackett, Ariel Filloy, Jeff Brooks, Amedeo Tessitori, Awudu Abass, and Luigi Datome.
All that flying comes in the span of basically a month. And that doesn’t even count what it took for players to individually reach Las Vegas and Los Angeles, the site of the two training camp weeks. “We’re feeling great,” U.S. center Myles Turner of the Indiana Pacers said. “We learned a lot over these past couple weeks, learned a lot about each other, learned a lot about the competition. We’re getting to know each other better. As opposed to just running a whole bunch of plays, we’re reading each other, making plays off each other.”
“We have a great team of guys, very unselfish group,” Bucks center Brook Lopez said before the team left Australia. “We all have the same goal in mind. A lot of young guys, so we have a lot of guys who are learning on the fly. We don’t have a problem being a team. Our guys have come together really quick.”
With the FIBA Basketball World Cup just three days away, Canada head coach Nick Nurse confirmed that point guard Cory Joseph will join the team once they arrive in Dongguan, China. "As far as I know he is," Nurse told reporters in Sydney when asked if Joseph would be joining the squad. "I exchanged a text with him a little earlier today and he said he was getting on the plane tomorrow [Monday] and he'd see me there. I guess we'll wait until we see if he's there. He'll be there.”
Montenegro head coach Zvezdan Mitrovic seems to have liked what he saw at the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 European Qualifiers, keeping the core of the team intact for the Final Round in China. Among the 11 returning players, Nikola Ivanovic, who averaged 14.0 points and a team-high 4.8 assists, and all-around big man Bojan Dubljevic are set to form the trio of leaders together with the big-name addition of Nikola Vucevic. The latter, who had breakthrough 2018-19 season with the NBA Orlando Magic, had last featured for his country at FIBA EuroBasket 2017.
Renaldo Balkman's inclusion into Puerto Rico's FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 squad is hoped to spark the team in China. The former New York Knicks and Denver Nuggets player was only recently included by the Puerto Rican Basketball Federation and he made the final 12-man roster to China.
Mark Cuban on believing that Carmelo Anthony deserved a roster spot with Team USA: "Dirk [Nowitzki] earned the right to be a Dallas Maverick for his entire career, whether he plays 20, 21 or 51 years, and I thought Carmelo, given the impact he's had on USA basketball, earned that same right as well. People have asked me, 'If you wanted him so badly why didn't you put him on the Mavs?' Well, it's a different game, different situation, different season. But no matter what, if you're part of USA basketball, and the international game is such that the court is not as big, the rules are a little bit different, the 3-point line is not as far, he can contribute there. As long as you can get him to accept his role, whatever [head coach Gregg Popovich] decides he has to do, then he should be on that team. He's earned that right. It's not even about contribution, it's really about the fact that Melo has been part of that team for so long."
“For me, the biggest thing is just to get back to my roots. The biggest thing is to elevate my defense, to get back to what got me drafted,” Mitchell told The Salt Lake Tribune after defeating Canada in the USA’s final pre-World Cup exhibition game. “I think that’s one thing I’ve prided myself on, and I think (USA head coach Gregg Popovich) has really put that in my head as well.”
Far surpassing his own expectations, he was named as a co-captain of this World Cup squad, and while the role surprised him, he’s tried to take it head on, applying the lessons to his leadership of the Jazz, even as a third-year player. “Whether it’s vocally, off the floor in the hotel room with the guys, or on the floor, I’m just trying to find ways to become a leader,” Mitchell said. “Being a captain of the team, it allows me to try to improve my leadership skills. It’s a big year coming up, and I think those will be really evident in this upcoming year.”
France are emerging like strong contenders for the title, with coach Vincent Collet rounding out his backcourt with experience after spending the closing days of the training camp with a loaded selection of guards. And Andrew Albicy, Nando De Colo, Evan Fournier, Paul Lacombe and Frank Ntilikina got the nod from the head coach, while the last two national team members to be cut were also the two youngest ones in 18-year-old Theo Maledon and 21-year-old Elie Okobo.
Following their last friendly game in preparation for the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019, Lithuania head coach Dainius Adomaitis has unveiled his final 12-man roster on Tuesday. Jonas Valanciunas and Domantas Sabonis stand tall in the chosen dozen to vie for Lithuania's first title at this level even though they find themselves in Group H - the Group of Death.
With just a few days to go until action tips off in China, an exciting Nigeria team and head coach Alex Nwora announced their final roster for the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019. The 12 players that were selected include team captain Ike Diogu and Al-Farouq Aminu leading Nigeria's charge alongside other stars Ekpe Udoh (Utah Jazz), Josh Okogie (Minnesota Timberwolves), Chimezie Metu (San Antonio Spurs).
Spain head coach Sergio Scariolo said that Marc Gasol is doubtful for the game against Russia, the team’s last preparation match before the World Cup, due to some stomach problems. “Marc has stomach problems. He was feeling very weak before the game (vs. Argentina) and we don’t know anything about tomorrow,” Scariolo said following the win over Argentina.
Greece will conclude the series of friendly matches prior to the 2019 FIBA World Cup facing Venezuela on Tuesday. However, Giannis Antetokounmpo will miss the final of the 2019 Suzhou International Basketball Challenge due to knee discomfort, the Greek Basketball Federation announced.
Spain has a couple more preparation games before the 2019 FIBA World Cup, but will battle Argentina on Tuesday and Russia on Wednesday without Marc Gasol. The 34-year-old center is forced out of the two final games due to gastroenteritis, the Spanish Basketball Federation announced.
Kemba Walker, Marcus Smart, Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown form the group that’s transformed Team USA into “Team Shamrock,” and it turns out they’re making some history along the way. One NBA team having four representatives has never happened before, according to NBC Sports’ Dan Feldman. The Celtics are the first team ever to have four players on the Team USA roster at the same time. The 2012 Oklahoma City Thunder (Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and James Harden) and the 2016 Golden State Warriors (Durant, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson) are the only other teams to have three representatives simultaneously on the roster.
How far is this team from hitting its peak? Jaylen Brown: I think we are nowhere near. I think we are just scratching the surface. That’s just me saying what I’m saying. Obviously, I think we have a lot of room to improve. I’m biased of course. But, we still come out and play. We have some good talent. We just have to continue to work together until it falls in place like seamlessly. It’s a little bit rugged. It’s not fluid yet, but we will get there.
Popovich admitted as much, though like Lopez, he couldn't work out why the crowd showed such passionate support for the Bucks centre. "What the hell was that all about?" Popovich said. "We screwed with it for a while, we were trying to keep our focus, because we don't want to make anything silly. But, it got so ridiculous, that we finally, we succumbed to the crowd."
Josh Lewenberg: With this AM's 84-68 loss to USA, Team Canada finishes exhibition 4-3. Oshae Brissett missed the game with a knee injury - his World Cup status is in doubt. Good news is Andrew Nembhard returned after a scary fall last week and Cory Joseph is still expected to meet them in China.
Michael Grange: 84-68 USA over @CanBball in Canada’s final exhibition game before @FIBAWC ... USA looked disjointed but Canada even more so; shooting just 24/75. Wiltjer with 21 off the bench.
Marc Stein: Team USA has assigned @FIBAWC numbers now that the roster is down to 12: 4. Derrick White 5. Donovan Mitchell 6. Joe Harris 7. Marcus Smart 8. Harrison Barnes 9. Jaylen Brown 10. Jayson Tatum 11. Mason Plumlee 12. Myles Turner 13. Brook Lopez 14. Khris Middleton 15, Kemba Walker
Spain’s Marc Gasol thinks that although they’re missing a lot of guys, the USA also has a lot of talented players filling the void: “I think all teams miss people. Obviously, Team USA has so many great names that it’s different for them but also, they have a lot of talent coming up. There’s always a time of transition for teams, maybe for them it’s been all at once but at some point, there’s always that point of transition. I don’t feel bad for them because they still have a whole bunch of talent coming up”, Gasol told ESPN.
He also noted that Spain is missing players as well: “We miss (Nikola) Mirotic,(Serge) Ibaka, Pau (Gasol), Sergio Rodriguez, (Alex) Abrines… We miss a whole bunch of guys. To me, it’s all excuses if you want to make them. With the void of some players comes an opportunity for other players to step up.”
Gilas Pilipinas is moving on from Jordan Clarkson. Clarkson is in the original 19-man Gilas team for the upcoming FIBA World Cup in China and naturally, the plan was for him to pair up with Andray Blatche to form a deadly 1-2 combo. However, the Philippines is sticking to Blatche as its guy for the naturalized player spot and Jordan, who is Fil-American but not counted as a local by FIBA, is once again left in the dust.
“I have utmost respect for coach Guiao and confident he knows what’s best moving forward,” Jordan’s father Mike Clarkson said in a statement via Steve Angeles of ABS-CBN News’ North American bureau. “As you’re aware, Jordan’s worked extremely hard to stay prepared for the ‘call of duty,’” he added. Despite being in the 19-man lineup Clarkson didn’t practice once with Gilas in preparation for the World Cup.
The final roster of Gilas Pilipinas for the 2019 FIBA World Cup has been revealed. The lineup was announced by the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas on its official Twitter account, moments after the second tune-up game between Gilas and Australian club team Adelaide 36ers Sunday at the Meralco Gym in Pasig City. Headlining the Philippine men's basketball squad are naturalized big man Andray Blatche, June Mar Fajardo, Japeth Aguilar, and captain Gabe Norwood.
With the World Cup starting in a week, this loss isn’t ideal and makes Team USA not look like a sure lock to win gold, which is what we’re used to seeing. USA basketball didn’t seem to handle the loss well, either, as they disabled comments to their Instagram photo of the loss, which didn’t go over well with fans:
But where does that leave Team USA this summer? Who is left to build around? Well, there’s Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Kemba Walker, Khris Middleton and Donovan Mitchell. Those five are probably the most talented players left on the USA’s roster. On paper, that group represents a dynamic and talented core that can compete with virtually anyone. But that doesn’t guarantee success. First of all, there is a significant drop off in talent from previous years. During the most recent Olympics, Team USA had nine reigning All-Stars, but this current collection only has two – the lowest total since 1998, a lockout year for the NBA in which the professionals mostly opted out. And the competition in the 2019 FIBA World Cup isn’t just anyone.
Marc Stein: Point of clarification: There was a report in Australia this week that Gregg Popovich had formally named Kemba Walker, Donovan Mitchell and Marcus Smart as Team USA captains. But I am told it is NOT an official thing — Pop merely meant he is leaning on those guys for leadership
"We have a bunch of guys who don't mind being the underdogs,” Walker told reporters. “We are hungry, and we are going to go out there to try and win a gold medal...I take pride in being a leader and guys looking to me and I'm here to set the tempo and bring my experience and energy." Walker is arguably the best player on the team, so it’s no surprise that he’s a captain. Mitchell being named a captain isn’t a shock either, when you consider how he came in as a rookie and showed tremendous ability as a leader with the Jazz and has continued to build off that success.
Germany will play against Tunisia and Japan in Saitama near Tokyo on August 23rd and 24th respectively. On August 26, the squad will head to Shenzhen, China where the World Cup group phase will be played. The 13 players currently in Japan for the German NT are: Dennis Schroder, Maodo Lo, Ismet Akpinar, Isaac Bonga, Andreas Obst, Robin Benzing, Paul Zipser, Niels Giffey, Johannes Thiemann, Danilo Barthell, Maximilian Kleber, Daniel Theis, Johannes Voigtmann.
Team USA head coach Gregg Popovich said that the atmosphere created by 51,218 fans in Marvel Stadium during the game of his team against Australia made him feel like he was in a movie. “It felt like I was in a movie. Like it was a movie set. I kept looking behind because I knew I was going to fall off stage. And then I talked to my coaches saying “I don’t know what the hell is going on.’ It was a really weird coaching situation,” Popovich said during the post-game presser.
Kane Pitman: Final from Melbourne: USA 102 Australia 86 -Kemba leads all scorers for the US with 23, Patty Mills and Chris Goulding have 19 for Aus -Khris Middleton finishes with 5 pts, 2 boards and 2 assts in 12 mins -Brook Lopez had 2 pts, 2 boards and a block in 6 mins Crowd was 51,218.
New Zealand has named the 12-man roster that will compete in the 2019 World Cup tournament. The squad features such players as Tom Abercrombie, Jarrod Kenny, Alex Pledger, Rob Loe, Isaac Fotu, Tai Webster and Corey Webster.
Celtics guard Kemba Walker, who is the only All-NBA player on Team USA, added: “We are embracing it as much as we can. It’s adding fuel to the fire. A lot of us, it’s where we come from. We come from being underdogs, most of us. “We’re hungry.”
Sacramento Kings forward Harrison Barnes, the only member of the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games gold-medal squad who is currently on Team USA’s roster, was excited about the opportunity. “For me, I make the commitment anytime USA Basketball asks,” Barnes told The Undefeated. “As long as my family is good and I am healthy, I will be out here playing as long as they give me the opportunity. … Everyone is different. Some guys are coming off injury. Some guys had commitments. For me, I try to take advantage of it every time I can to play for my country. To be able to suit up with these guys, that has been fun.”
“We hear the noise,” Barnes said. “It’s about just us, getting better, continuing to grow closer on and off the floor, and we’ll go from there. … “We’re motivated more than anything to keep the gold standard going, by the teams that went before us that went and won the World Cup, that went and won the Olympics multiple times. That’s what we’re chasing right now.”
Despite speculation about Nigeria even withdrawing from the upcoming FIBA World Cup, the Nigerian national team left today for China.
Doug Smith: NBA source tells me Cory Joseph will NOT play for Canada at the World Cup. Middle of the night in Australia so Canada Basketball comment a few hours away
Nigeria were the first country to qualify for the 2019 FIBA World Cup, and they're on the brink of being the first team out, before the event even begins. With less than two weeks to go, financial issues and player unrest threaten D'Tigers' participation at the basketball global showpiece in China.
Stan Okoye, Ekpe Udoh, Ike Iroegbu, and Gabe Vincent were among those who aired their grievances on social media, posting and reshaping the message. They said: "It has been an honor and privilege to play and represent Nigeria in preparation for the FIBA World Cup. However, the sports commission of Nigeria refuses to release the money allocated to us for training, food, travel and equipment in order to properly prepare for the World Cup. It's made things very difficult as the president of the federation, coaching staff and even players have had to pay for everything personally.”
Brazil will travel to China having a veteran team which can’t be underestimated. Rafael Hettsheimeir was the last cut from the pre-selection roster and many familiar names still have gas on their tank. The 12 players selected by coach Alexander Petrovic are the following: Marcelinho Huertas (Iberostar Tenerife) Rafa Luz (MorBanc Andorra), Yago Mateus (Paulistano), Didi Louzada (New Orleans Pelicans), Alex Garcia, Vitor Benite ( San Pablo Burgos), Leandro Barbosa (Minas Tenis), Marquinhos (Flamengo), Bruno Caboclo (Memphis Grizzlies), Anderson Varejao (Flamengo), Cristiano Felicio (Chicago Bulls), Augusto Lima (San Pablo Burgos).
Marc Stein: As they prepare to leave the country today, Team USA gets one roster boost to counter the unexpected departure of De'Aaron Fox: Marcus Smart, I'm told, has been cleared to make a full return to the court from the calf injury that has sidelined him for the past week-plus
The USA World Cup finalists roster currently includes 13 players -- Harrison Barnes (Sacramento Kings); Jaylen Brown (Boston Celtics); Joe Harris (Brooklyn Nets); Kyle Kuzma (Los Angeles Lakers); Brook Lopez (Milwaukee Bucks); Khris Middleton (Milwaukee Bucks); Donovan Mitchell (Utah Jazz); Mason Plumlee (Denver Nuggets), Marcus Smart (Boston Celtics); Jayson Tatum (Boston Celtics); Myles Turner (Indiana Pacers); Kemba Walker (Boston Celtics); and Derrick White (San Antonio Spurs).
After a lacklustre performance against Canada on Friday night, the Australian Boomers bounced back with an impressive 81-73 win at RAC Arena in Perth. Jonah Bolden was the star of the show, coming off the bench with 12 points on 5-of-7 shooting, swinging momentum Australia's way in the third quarter with multiple game-changing plays.
In a year in which his more heralded teammates LeBron James and Anthony Davis have bowed out of international duty, Kuzma has a golden opportunity to represent the Lakers on Team USA. Asked if he’s done enough to make the final roster, Kuzma said yes. “I’m not one to really grade my performances, but I think my energy was at a high level,” he said. “That’s the only thing I can really control.”
While Kuzma’s odds are as good as ever – the national team needs to make only two cuts to reach the 12-man group they’ll take to the FIBA World Cup in China – much of the buzz from a week of camp in L.A. indicates that he’s still squarely on the bubble. Kuzma made some strides to help himself Friday night, in the USA’s 90-81 exhibition win over Spain, a slightly past-its-prime basketball power. But still sharing a court with NBA stalwarts such as Ricky Rubio and Marc Gasol, Kuzma held his own with seven points, five rebounds and three assists – potentially helping make his case that he belongs in red, white and blue next month on the international stage.
Storyline: World Cup
More HoopsHype Rumors
July 26, 2021 | 10:15 pm EDT Update
Darren Wolfson: Talked w/ #Timberwolves POBO Rosas. Asked him if we can read into the posted pics of Bolmaro’s recent MN trip being a sign he’s coming this summer. “I think it’s fair.” On Ant rehab, “Things are positive.” 1 more: “Way we build this team will be through trade this offseason.”
July 26, 2021 | 7:35 pm EDT Update

Thunder offered Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, No. 6 pick to Pistons for No. 1 pick?

Cade Cunningham has been the public favorite to go No. 1 to the Detroit Pistons since the lottery. While Detroit is surely doing its due diligence, is there any reason to doubt that Cunningham will be the first name we hear on Thursday night? Matt Babcock: I expect Cade Cunningham to be the top overall pick in this draft, selected by the Detroit Pistons. However, I’ve been told that the Houston Rockets and Oklahoma City Thunder have been knocking the Pistons’ door down. Rumor has it that the Thunder offered the No. 6 pick and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander in exchange for No. 1 — the Pistons declined. If the Pistons receive an offer better than that one, they may need to seriously consider it.
This rumor is part of a storyline: 547 more rumors
However, two other names also are swirling around. Moses Moody has been someone league sources have said the Grizzlies are very interested in. He’s one of the most intriguing 3-and-D guys in the draft. In his one year at Arkansas, he made 35.8 percent of his 3-pointers, and nearly 50 percent of his shots came from beyond the arc. Nobody is blown away by 35.8 percent, but scouts/executives believe in his shot and are encouraged by the 81.2 percent he shot from the free throw line. Free-throw percentage is often an indicator of someone discovering long-distance accuracy.