Aron Baynes: “Those younger guys [Tatum and Brown] are thirsty to go out and improve their game and there’s no better place than the summer time playing international ball against some of the best players in the world. Those guys are still in their rookie contracts and they’re looking to prove themselves over the next couple of years and they definitely have all the tools to do it. They’re competitors, I’ve played against them all the time in practice and I know what they’re capable of … and it’s fun to play alongside them.”
3 days ago via ESPN
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).
Undrafted big man Tacko Fall also has been around, having signed an Exhibit 10 contract in July. Fall, who captivated fans at Summer League, will participate in training camp in hopes of claiming the final roster spot. So far, Pagliuca likes what he sees. “Tacko’s a force of nature,” he said. “He’s a very gentle soul. He’s had a great team effect already. Everybody’s rooting for Tacko. It’s going to be great to see him play.”
While there’s no question the lofty expectations from last season have certainly declined, Pagliuca is hopeful this team can still be a contender. “We’re not going into the year where there’s kind of a clear favorite that everybody has to beat,” he said. “There are probably six or eight teams that everybody has to beat, and hopefully we’re one of them. It’s going to be one of the most balanced and fun seasons we’ve seen in our whole regime.”