Team USA 2024

PedroKsBambino

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In my mind, Tatum's focus on D started after he played for Pop on the USA Basketball team. Pop told him he could be Kawhi or PG if he focused on D and it seemed to resonate with JT, and people started to notice his D the next season.

Pop on Tatum link
That’s a great pull-thanks for sharing!

Credit to Tatum for going out and committing on defense to prove Pop right. There’s a different choice a lot of guys make instead….but most of them don’t get to hoist a championship trophy.
 

Jimbodandy

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In my mind, Tatum's focus on D started after he played for Pop on the USA Basketball team. Pop told him he could be Kawhi or PG if he focused on D and it seemed to resonate with JT, and people started to notice his D the next season.

Pop on Tatum link
That's fucking gold. Thanks for sharing that.

I loved the idea of a master class with Pop for JT. If that's from the 2019 FIBA team, you can add that influence and mindset towards JB and obviously DW too. Maybe Wyc should send Pop a fruit basket or something.
 

BigSoxFan

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You never want to write off younger players and this forum in particular cannot wait to proclaim athletes as never-weres or done.

That said I watched a fair bit of SA this season and both those guys feel like they are just warm NBA bodies. Vassell can shoot a bit but the other skills aren't there and his physical profile feels like he has to be really good on offense to be effective - and he is an older player.

Sochan is relatively young but if anything, he kind of backslid a bit this year.

Its not fair but watching the Cs play this year contrasted with Spurs games made me appreciate Boston's execution that much more. While the Cs were executing a high level, these guys spent a lot of minutes flailing around the court.
Vassell put up 20/4/4 on 47% shooting in his age 23 season. Shoots the 3 well. I like him and think you’re doing pretty well if he’s your 3rd or 4th scoring option. Agree that Sochan is more of a role player but I also think he was miscast out of need. I’m still trying to figure out what he is at the NBA level but he’s had several very impactful games. Shot needs to improve though and that will probably govern his overall trajectory. Won’t even turn 22 until May.

Ultimately, I think both of these guys are still green but they have potential to be nice glue guys for a good team. SA usually doesn’t mess around with extensions and they were quick to lock Vassell up to a $135M contract.
 

nocode51

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Agreed but we're they better prospects after high school or after they played some college ball? I really don't know, I have focused on Cooper because of the Maine connection.
 

Euclis20

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Durant was a pretty big deal too.
Yup, forgot about him. It's incredible in retrospect that he went 2nd, but Oden's floor was supposed to be Mutombo on defense and Ewing on offense, so....whoops. Remarkable that the next 4 picks (Durant, Horford, Conley, Green) are all around and playing real minutes for decent to great teams, 17 years later.
 

Kliq

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Flagg is the most hyped US prospect since Zion. Zion was not even the consensus #1 recruit in his class though, Barrett was ranked by many people higher than him heading into Duke. We will see what it looks like for Flagg--he could be a Zion-esque player in college.

It's hard to compare players to Zion though--he was such a dangerous, physical marvel that he captured the imaginations of people in a way someone like Flagg, who is merely a very talented version of a player that is relatively common, cannot.
 

Auger34

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Agreed but we're they better prospects after high school or after they played some college ball? I really don't know, I have focused on Cooper because of the Maine connection.
After high school I’d say back to Anthony Davis or Greg Oden. I remember OJ Mayo having a TON of hype too
 

HomeRunBaker

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After high school I’d say back to Anthony Davis or Greg Oden. I remember OJ Mayo having a TON of hype too
What about Schea Cotton or the Jewish Jordan that played at Towson? They may have been before LeBron though.
 

PedroKsBambino

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Flagg is more hyped than Zion—though Zion’s hype started younger with all those YouTube dunks.

you might have to go back to Lebron?
 

Ale Xander

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Parker, Wiggins, Oden, AD, Simmons and I hate to say it, Harrison Barnes, were all as hyped as this guy
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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What about Schea Cotton or the Jewish Jordan that played at Towson? They may have been before LeBron though.
Jewish Jordan was Tamir Goodman. I thought that hype was more regional than national.

But if you want to go back, remember Damon Bailey? Bobby Knight allegedly offered him a scholarship in eighth grade and he got a SI article out of it too. Those were the days.
 

Auger34

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Flagg is more hyped than Zion—though Zion’s hype started younger with all those YouTube dunks.

you might have to go back to Lebron?
Thinking about it more, I think it’s Oden.

IMO, I am using “hype” as a mix of general awareness and regard as a prospect.

Zion had hype but there were questions about him as a prospect because he didn’t have a ton of AAU exposure and his level of high school competition was really weak.

Barrett definitely didn’t have this amount of hype or awareness. Same with Wiggins.

Parker had a ton of hype but got injured.

From off the top of my head, I also don’t remember AD or Simmons having crazy hype either. I might be wrong on Simmons but that’s my memory at least
 

Jimbodandy

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Thinking about it more, I think it’s Oden.

IMO, I am using “hype” as a mix of general awareness and regard as a prospect.

Zion had hype but there were questions about him as a prospect because he didn’t have a ton of AAU exposure and his level of high school competition was really weak.

Barrett definitely didn’t have this amount of hype or awareness. Same with Wiggins.

Parker had a ton of hype but got injured.

From off the top of my head, I also don’t remember AD or Simmons having crazy hype either. I might be wrong on Simmons but that’s my memory at least
I think that an opinion of the Zion hype is based on whether one was a youtube consumer (or had a teenager kid who was). I was watching Zion windmill dunks with my kid when the former was in 10th grade. In the dunk video space, he was a true legend. His season at Duke was must-watch for us, not quite "Lebron's senior year in high school" must watch, but serious business nonetheless. I think Zion is a good comp for Flagg's hype. Different game, but being a household name before you graduate high school, even only among hoop junkies, is still a big deal.

For a comp, I had no idea who Wiggins, Barrett, Oden, or Harrison Barnes were before the recruiting season started.
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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Thinking about it more, I think it’s Oden.

IMO, I am using “hype” as a mix of general awareness and regard as a prospect.

Zion had hype but there were questions about him as a prospect because he didn’t have a ton of AAU exposure and his level of high school competition was really weak.

Barrett definitely didn’t have this amount of hype or awareness. Same with Wiggins.

Parker had a ton of hype but got injured.

From off the top of my head, I also don’t remember AD or Simmons having crazy hype either. I might be wrong on Simmons but that’s my memory at least
This CBS Sports article had AD as the top between Wemby and LBJ: Ranking the 20 best NBA Draft prospects since LeBron: Victor Wembanyama, AD, Zion at top with Scoot sliding in - CBSSports.com.

The one player that hasn't been mentioned here and shows up in the top 5 (or so) of a couple of lists (he's 5 in the above list) is Derrick Rose.
 

Kliq

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I think that an opinion of the Zion hype is based on whether one was a youtube consumer (or had a teenager kid who was). I was watching Zion windmill dunks with my kid when the former was in 10th grade. In the dunk video space, he was a true legend. His season at Duke was must-watch for us, not quite "Lebron's senior year in high school" must watch, but serious business nonetheless. I think Zion is a good comp for Flagg's hype. Different game, but being a household name before you graduate high school, even only among hoop junkies, is still a big deal.

For a comp, I had no idea who Wiggins, Barrett, Oden, or Harrison Barnes were before the recruiting season started.
I remember Wiggins having TONS of hype in high school--he was considered a can't miss prospect and was drawing LeBron/Jordan comparisons (obviously hyperbole, but folks were very aware of him). It wasn't until his first season at Kansas where he showed himself to be Andrew Wiggins (talented but enigmatic) and some of the hype cooled off, although he still went #1 in the draft.

Barrett had that famous game against Team USA as a teenager where he single-handily beat Team USA in the U19 World Cup (when I think he was only 17). That really put him on the map before heading to Duke:

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i8tg0HVRmRA



Oden's hype pre-dates a lot of the YouTube mixtape era stuff that subsequent prospects have had, but I remember as a kid reading about this guy from Indiana that was going to be the next Shaq.

Flagg is comparable to Zion in that he is very YouTube famous, and that is before he even plays college basketball. We will see where he ends up after his college season, because I think that is when the hype is officially recorded and evaluated for future memory. Anthony Davis was the #1 recruit in his high school class, but I don't recall him being talked about as a generational prospect until his season at Kentucky. After that he was considered probably one of the most can't-miss prospects in NBA history--remember, he played on Team USA at the 2012 Olympics before ever even playing in the NBA.
 

ManicCompression

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I remember Wiggins having TONS of hype in high school--he was considered a can't miss prospect and was drawing LeBron/Jordan comparisons (obviously hyperbole, but folks were very aware of him). It wasn't until his first season at Kansas where he showed himself to be Andrew Wiggins (talented but enigmatic) and some of the hype cooled off, although he still went #1 in the draft.

Barrett had that famous game against Team USA as a teenager where he single-handily beat Team USA in the U19 World Cup (when I think he was only 17). That really put him on the map before heading to Duke:

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i8tg0HVRmRA



Oden's hype pre-dates a lot of the YouTube mixtape era stuff that subsequent prospects have had, but I remember as a kid reading about this guy from Indiana that was going to be the next Shaq.

Flagg is comparable to Zion in that he is very YouTube famous, and that is before he even plays college basketball. We will see where he ends up after his college season, because I think that is when the hype is officially recorded and evaluated for future memory. Anthony Davis was the #1 recruit in his high school class, but I don't recall him being talked about as a generational prospect until his season at Kentucky. After that he was considered probably one of the most can't-miss prospects in NBA history--remember, he played on Team USA at the 2012 Olympics before ever even playing in the NBA.
Wiggins was non-ironically called Maple Jordan. The hype train on him was crazy pre-Kansas.
 

Auger34

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I think that an opinion of the Zion hype is based on whether one was a youtube consumer (or had a teenager kid who was). I was watching Zion windmill dunks with my kid when the former was in 10th grade. In the dunk video space, he was a true legend. His season at Duke was must-watch for us, not quite "Lebron's senior year in high school" must watch, but serious business nonetheless. I think Zion is a good comp for Flagg's hype. Different game, but being a household name before you graduate high school, even only among hoop junkies, is still a big deal.

For a comp, I had no idea who Wiggins, Barrett, Oden, or Harrison Barnes were before the recruiting season started.
Let me clarify.

When I am talking about hype, I am talking about at this point in the process where college hasn't started yet and we are just going off of high school recruiting rankings and clips. I believe that's the question @nocode51 was asking It's really tough because our opinions and the rankings people come up with are inevitably colored by how all of these guys did in college and/or the pros.

Zion is one of my favorite college players ever. It was like watching a super athletic bowling ball who could jump out of the gym play point guard.

Wiggins and Simmons are tough for me because I am going off of memory on the "hype" portion and that may be colored by the fact that they turned out to be pretty mediocre pros.

Barnes was talked about but it wasn't nearly at this level. He was really big for the UNC/Duke fanbases and rivalries because the rumors were he was definitely going to go to Duke before going dark on Coach K the day before his announcement and choosing UNC. But nationally, the hype on him wasn't crazy. In fact, the thing I remember most about his recruitment at the national level was reporters making fun of him for calling himself "The Black Falcon"

AD I truly don't remember. I know that he was definitely the #1 prospect at the time and there was a lot of talk about how he grew up playing PG and had a crazy growth spurt so he had guard talent in a 7-foot body but I don't remember everyone talking about him as a genertaional prospect

Oden is basically the same age as me and I remember the hype around him was crazy. Like basically can't miss generational center prospect. Aside from LeBron, I don't remember any player in my lifetime having that type of hype (non-European division).
Flagg is close though. I think this US Select Team stuff is pushing him above that
 

Ale Xander

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Let me clarify.

When I am talking about hype, I am talking about at this point in the process where college hasn't started yet and we are just going off of high school recruiting rankings and clips. I believe that's the question @nocode51 was asking It's really tough because our opinions and the rankings people come up with are inevitably colored by how all of these guys did in college and/or the pros.

Zion is one of my favorite college players ever. It was like watching a super athletic bowling ball who could jump out of the gym play point guard.

Wiggins and Simmons are tough for me because I am going off of memory on the "hype" portion and that may be colored by the fact that they turned out to be pretty mediocre pros.

Barnes was talked about but it wasn't nearly at this level. He was really big for the UNC/Duke fanbases and rivalries because the rumors were he was definitely going to go to Duke before going dark on Coach K the day before his announcement and choosing UNC. But nationally, the hype on him wasn't crazy. In fact, the thing I remember most about his recruitment at the national level was reporters making fun of him for calling himself "The Black Falcon"

AD I truly don't remember. I know that he was definitely the #1 prospect at the time and there was a lot of talk about how he grew up playing PG and had a crazy growth spurt so he had guard talent in a 7-foot body but I don't remember everyone talking about him as a genertaional prospect

Oden is basically the same age as me and I remember the hype around him was crazy. Like basically can't miss generational center prospect. Aside from LeBron, I don't remember any player in my lifetime having that type of hype (non-European division).
Flagg is close though. I think this US Select Team stuff is pushing him above that
Barnes was the first freshman to go preseason All-American, that's where the hype came in.
 

PedroKsBambino

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Not because they are the best players, but because connectivity and and trust matter a great deal, you'd have to think about a Tatum/White/Jrue threesome in key moments, with two of LBJ/Durant/Embiid/AD providing firepower wouldn't you? You might even, vs a smaller team, try Curry/White/Jrue/Tatum with AD or Embiid.

I just think against some of those Euro teams who have played a lot more together the ability to communicate matters. And LBJ is so smart on the court he'll be in sync with the three Celtics in half a second as well. If you use he and AD as the other two, that's a pretty cohesive lineup that also has a lot of familiarity.
 

Jed Zeppelin

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Glad for our guys to have the chance at more hardware but selfishly would like them all to get their rest. And it would've been cool to add Flagg to the team.
 

PedroKsBambino

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Glad for our guys to have the chance at more hardware but selfishly would like them all to get their rest. And it would've been cool to add Flagg to the team.
As great as Flagg looked in a practice, the chances he's a more useful player in the Olympics this month than Derrick White are about 1%, imo. Worry about winning the games.
 

snowmanny

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Not because they are the best players, but because connectivity and and trust matter a great deal, you'd have to think about a Tatum/White/Jrue threesome in key moments, with two of LBJ/Durant/Embiid/AD providing firepower wouldn't you? You might even, vs a smaller team, try Curry/White/Jrue/Tatum with AD or Embiid.

I just think against some of those Euro teams who have played a lot more together the ability to communicate matters. And LBJ is so smart on the court he'll be in sync with the three Celtics in half a second as well. If you use he and AD as the other two, that's a pretty cohesive lineup that also has a lot of familiarity.
There are definitely years where Celtics/Lakers all-stars vs Everybody else would have been a fair match.
 

astrozombie

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1. Kawhi withdrawing barely registered with me. I am guessing most people assumed that him being added was a formality and that he would be removed.
2. Good for White. Be nice to add some hardware to the collection.
3. I would have loved for the Cs to get some well-earned rest this summer, but also happy for them playing in the Olympics.
4. To @PedroKsBambino's point, a lineup of DW/Jrue/JT/Bron/AD would be pretty amusing as an all Cs/Lakers lineup.

ETA: @snowmanny beat me to it
 

Jimbodandy

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Let me clarify.

When I am talking about hype, I am talking about at this point in the process where college hasn't started yet and we are just going off of high school recruiting rankings and clips. I believe that's the question @nocode51 was asking It's really tough because our opinions and the rankings people come up with are inevitably colored by how all of these guys did in college and/or the pros.

Zion is one of my favorite college players ever. It was like watching a super athletic bowling ball who could jump out of the gym play point guard.

Wiggins and Simmons are tough for me because I am going off of memory on the "hype" portion and that may be colored by the fact that they turned out to be pretty mediocre pros.

Barnes was talked about but it wasn't nearly at this level. He was really big for the UNC/Duke fanbases and rivalries because the rumors were he was definitely going to go to Duke before going dark on Coach K the day before his announcement and choosing UNC. But nationally, the hype on him wasn't crazy. In fact, the thing I remember most about his recruitment at the national level was reporters making fun of him for calling himself "The Black Falcon"

AD I truly don't remember. I know that he was definitely the #1 prospect at the time and there was a lot of talk about how he grew up playing PG and had a crazy growth spurt so he had guard talent in a 7-foot body but I don't remember everyone talking about him as a genertaional prospect

Oden is basically the same age as me and I remember the hype around him was crazy. Like basically can't miss generational center prospect. Aside from LeBron, I don't remember any player in my lifetime having that type of hype (non-European division).
Flagg is close though. I think this US Select Team stuff is pushing him above that
Yeah, my overall point was that it's not a bad thing that our recollections on this are different. Depends on what folks are into, how they consume their news, etc.

I'm a casual college hoop guy, not serious, so except for big recruiting classes, I don't really know what guys' rankings in their classes coming out of high school. I start caring during their college year generally. But when a guy is super athletic or hitting logo threes and get in reels, then that stuff finds a way to me earlier. Folks who are really into amateur hoop will definitely have different memories of these guys, because their sources are not mine.
 

PedroKsBambino

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There are definitely years where Celtics/Lakers all-stars vs Everybody else would have been a fair match.
It's obviously not about being the best five individual players, of course.

The only way the US loses is it has an all-star team of guys who don't play together and don't know each other's games and aren't really connected and occasionally, someone can take advantage of the gaps/misconnections. Talent-wise, the USA Select team probably is more talented than any other olympic team top to bottom. But several of the teams have largely played/practiced together on a relatively consistent basis and US hasn't. So thinking about how you solve for that is a crazy thing for Kerr to think about.

Also, I like that there's now three guys on the roster who can play well without the ball---Bam, White, Jrue. There have been US teams that had none, or that had none other than a 5. You need people to set picks, run off ball actions, and connect to win actual basketball games....good on USA Basketball for realizing that rather than, say, adding Kyrie or some other shoot-first guy. I looked at guards and worried a bit that (for example) Halliburton doesn't really have an obvious role besides being Steph injury insurance, he's an awful defensive player and has never been a willing off-ball guy. He'll be backup PG perhaps, but that isn't a lot of meaningful minutes. So, White is a great addition.

If Durant begs out I do wonder about the replacement there - Jaylen and Paul George come to mind. Flagg is on the list, but for me low on it as he's a novelty act right now (albeit a fun one with a lot of upside). A guy like Mikal Bridges is perhaps a good basketball fit but maybe not quite enough of a profile. I don't think they need size in that spot, but a different theory is to get more of a 4/5. To me, with Embiid/AD/Tatum/LBJ you're good there but it's not crazy to think about someone big, I guess. What bigs are there---I just don't think they need KAT. Aaron Gordon is actually interesting, but not a likely choice. Banchero is the most talented, but not all that terrific a fit role-wise (doesn't shoot or defend well and while probably capable of not being ball-dominant that's what we've seen) Myles Turner probably is the choice if you really think you need size? Plenty of on-ball juice without him and helps with rim protection and spacing
 
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Kliq

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I wouldn't underestimate the impact the FIBA rules have on Team USA. We've seen in a lot before as guys really struggle to adjust to the more physical play that is permitted.
 

PedroKsBambino

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Bam Adebayo will still have to tone down his physicality level from his Heat norm, though!
 

Senator Donut

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I'm reminded of how excited I was to see Tatum, Brown, Smart, and Kemba on the 2019 World Cup team. The lasting impact of that was the eventual hire of Ime Udoka, who gained those players' trust that summer. Derrick White was on that team too and it's a probably a big reason why he's getting a callup instead of a more decorated player.

It's also interesting that the players are wearing numbers 4-15 consecutively. FIBA loosened its number rules a few years ago and presumably USA basketball could sell more "Tatum 0" shirts than "Tatum 10" shirts.
 

Euclis20

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I'm happy for White to get the call, but I think the biggest reason he was invited over some other guys (notably JB and George, who are both bigger stars and as big wings would've made more sense positionally as replacements for Kawhi) is that he can be comfortable riding the bench and never seeing real playing time. This team had at least one too many "star" level players, they need connective pieces and guys that won't get grumpy if they don't see the court. White is immediately the 2nd or 3rd best guard defender on the team so it's not impossible that he gets to see some matchups, but there's a pretty clear 8 man lineup now IMO:

Guards: Curry, Edwards, Booker
Forwards: Tatum, Lebron, Durant
Centers: Embiid, Davis

These games are only 40 minutes long. Absent injuries, I don't see anyone not on this list (White/Holiday/Haliburton/Bam) seeing real time.
 

HomeRunBaker

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1. Kawhi withdrawing barely registered with me. I am guessing most people assumed that him being added was a formality and that he would be removed.
Kawhi was in Vegas participating in the practices leading up to the Olympics this week so he was planning to play.
 

bankshot1

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Really happy for White. He seems so grounded and gets how to play a team game.

And seeing DW and Jrue playing backcourt hopefully for Gold is full Celtic fanboy happiness.
 

astrozombie

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Kawhi was in Vegas participating in the practices leading up to the Olympics this week so he was planning to play.
I do not believe for a single second that Kawhi was serious about playing. He showed up, did a few practices, the moment something inevitably felt a little funny, he was going to be shut down and removed. And lo and behold it happened.

ETA: why show up at all? Maybe a free chance to hang with some friends in Vegas and shoot the shit. Maybe a free trip to Paris if everything broke right.
 

Jimbodandy

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I'm happy for White to get the call, but I think the biggest reason he was invited over some other guys (notably JB and George, who are both bigger stars and as big wings would've made more sense positionally as replacements for Kawhi) is that he can be comfortable riding the bench and never seeing real playing time. This team had at least one too many "star" level players, they need connective pieces and guys that won't get grumpy if they don't see the court. White is immediately the 2nd or 3rd best guard defender on the team so it's not impossible that he gets to see some matchups, but there's a pretty clear 8 man lineup now IMO:

Guards: Curry, Edwards, Booker
Forwards: Tatum, Lebron, Durant
Centers: Embiid, Davis

These games are only 40 minutes long. Absent injuries, I don't see anyone not on this list (White/Holiday/Haliburton/Bam) seeing real time.
While I agree with everything that you wrote, I'm looking at that lineup and think that any two of Holiday, White, and Brown give you more at "guard" than Edwards and Booker. It is what it is, and I accept the green-colored glasses comments coming my way too, but being physical and playing defense are absolutely part of things here.
 

Red Right Ankle

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I wouldn't underestimate the impact the FIBA rules have on Team USA. We've seen in a lot before as guys really struggle to adjust to the more physical play that is permitted.
Will be interesting to see if this year's big change in the foul calls on physical D affects this historical trend.
 

InstaFace

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Waiting for the amazed looks of 6'9" guys who go up soft against D White and get their shit rejected. Although maybe with the championship run he'll go from underrated to more properly known/rated.
I love, in particular, that White is getting rewarded for being on the 2019 World Cup team. There should be spots available on World Cup rosters for 1-2 guys who did the federation a favor by being on the Select Team, and there should be 1-2 spots available on Olympic rosters for guys who did the federation a favor by playing the World Cup, a competition which the NBA's top stars usually decline. Guys who otherwise wouldn't make the team simply on sporting merit. If you can credibly dangle that ("we reward commitment to the program"), you'll get a higher quality of player willing to show up for both things (Select Team and World Cup).

Yes, White is a great glue guy who already plays, ya know, pretty well alongside Tatum and Holiday. But in terms of NBA hype and rep and arguably even talent, there are lots of other guys who were probably ahead of him on the list to replace Kawhi Leonard. So I think his past commitment to USA Basketball likely factored into him being the one who got the call.

When Haliburton tweaks something and they replace him with Jaylen, though, it's going to funny as all fuck to roll out "the Boston Celtics, except with Bam Adebayo or Joel Embiid" as the USA's starting five in Paris. You Euro teams think you guys have an unusual amount of reps playing together? Try this for chemistry.

edit: "...and the Boston Celtics are world champions! For the second time in two months!"
 
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Auger34

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Apr 23, 2010
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If Durant begs out I do wonder about the replacement there - Jaylen and Paul George come to mind. Flagg is on the list, but for me low on it as he's a novelty act right now (albeit a fun one with a lot of upside). A guy like Mikal Bridges is perhaps a good basketball fit but maybe not quite enough of a profile. I don't think they need size in that spot, but a different theory is to get more of a 4/5. To me, with Embiid/AD/Tatum/LBJ you're good there but it's not crazy to think about someone big, I guess. What bigs are there---I just don't think they need KAT. Aaron Gordon is actually interesting, but not a likely choice. Banchero is the most talented, but not all that terrific a fit role-wise (doesn't shoot or defend well and while probably capable of not being ball-dominant that's what we've seen) Myles Turner probably is the choice if you really think you need size? Plenty of on-ball juice without him and helps with rim protection and spacing
If Durant needs to be replaced, then the first call has to be to Jaylen. He's the best player on that list and the best defender. It's also a positional match.

If they don't ask him then, selfishly as a Celtic fan, I will be happy since he has more fuel from the haters but it would be a legitimate snub
 

benhogan

Granite Truther
SoSH Member
Nov 2, 2007
21,122
Santa Monica
I love, in particular, that White is getting rewarded for being on the 2019 World Cup team. There should be spots available on World Cup rosters for 1-2 guys who did the federation a favor by being on the Select Team, and there should be 1-2 spots available on Olympic rosters for guys who did the federation a favor by playing the World Cup, a competition which the NBA's top stars usually decline. Guys who otherwise wouldn't make the team simply on sporting merit. If you can credibly dangle that ("we reward commitment to the program"), you'll get a higher quality of player willing to show up for both things (Select Team and World Cup).

Yes, White is a great glue guy who already plays, ya know, pretty well alongside Tatum and Holiday. But in terms of NBA hype and rep and arguably even talent, there are lots of other guys who were probably ahead of him on the list to replace Kawhi Leonard. So I think his past commitment to USA Basketball likely factored into him being the one who got the call.

When Haliburton tweaks something and they replace him with Jaylen, though, it's going to funny as all fuck to roll out "the Boston Celtics, except with Bam Adebayo or Joel Embiid" as the USA's starting five in Paris. You Euro teams think you guys have an unusual amount of reps playing together? Try this for chemistry.

edit: "...and the Boston Celtics are world champions! For the second time in two months!"
I imagine South Sudan & Puerto Rico will see the entire USA roster ;)
 

LA_33

Member
SoSH Member
Oct 26, 2005
25
MN via MA
I'm happy for White to get the call, but I think the biggest reason he was invited over some other guys (notably JB and George, who are both bigger stars and as big wings would've made more sense positionally as replacements for Kawhi) is that he can be comfortable riding the bench and never seeing real playing time. This team had at least one too many "star" level players, they need connective pieces and guys that won't get grumpy if they don't see the court. White is immediately the 2nd or 3rd best guard defender on the team so it's not impossible that he gets to see some matchups, but there's a pretty clear 8 man lineup now IMO:

Guards: Curry, Edwards, Booker
Forwards: Tatum, Lebron, Durant
Centers: Embiid, Davis

These games are only 40 minutes long. Absent injuries, I don't see anyone not on this list (White/Holiday/Haliburton/Bam) seeing real time.
I think this is correct in regards to White.

Even if Kerr plays hockey lineups (which as I said upthread actually makes strategic sense to me, as it allows 5-man lineups to play together full time and maybe develop chemistry faster, it keeps a couple more guys involved, etc.) Derrick is either the 11th or 12th man on this roster along with Haliburton. Meaning he's going to be outside of even a two-unit rotation.

I now wonder whether a big part of Kawhi withdrawing is that everyone came to understand that he was going to be splitting minutes as a backup "guard" with Booker/Jrue, and at that point he/the Clippers/everyone agreed it wasn't worth the extra travel and injury risk.


If Durant begs out I do wonder about the replacement there - Jaylen and Paul George come to mind. Flagg is on the list, but for me low on it as he's a novelty act right now (albeit a fun one with a lot of upside). A guy like Mikal Bridges is perhaps a good basketball fit but maybe not quite enough of a profile. I don't think they need size in that spot, but a different theory is to get more of a 4/5. To me, with Embiid/AD/Tatum/LBJ you're good there but it's not crazy to think about someone big, I guess. What bigs are there---I just don't think they need KAT. Aaron Gordon is actually interesting, but not a likely choice. Banchero is the most talented, but not all that terrific a fit role-wise (doesn't shoot or defend well and while probably capable of not being ball-dominant that's what we've seen) Myles Turner probably is the choice if you really think you need size? Plenty of on-ball juice without him and helps with rim protection and spacing
I can see the argument for one more big guy instead of another guard if they need to replace Durant, but I also don't think it matters much. Even without KD, they can just play both LeBron and Tatum at the 4 a little more, and fill the wing minutes by sliding Jrue/Book/Ant up, and actually using Hali or White a little.

As for options:
  • KAT is a Dominican national for FIBA play, he led the DR team that made the knockout round of the last FIBA World Cup (Edit: he's been part of the Dominican program since he was like 16, when Calipari was the DR coach, and used a National Team spot to help recruit KAT to UK; that's also why Horford has been one of KAT's mentors, Al was also on the team in those Coach Cal days).
  • I also think there's zero chance that Aaron Gordon can pass an Olympic drug test if weed is banned (I honestly don't know whether that's the case).
  • And Turner was a very underwhelming FIBA player, he doesn't rebound or bang inside well enough to hold up against the best opposing teams, which are all huge other than Canada.
So a bigger wing with Team USA experience would seem like the pick (Jaylen or PG13), or I guess maybe Paulo if the role is really "You are never, ever going to play, you just get to put on the uniform".
 

TripleOT

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 4, 2007
8,191
It’s funny how draft analyses can end up so wrong. The Ringer thought JT lacked defensive versatility, and he now may be thought of as one of the best defender 1-5 of all time.

Flagg is already a two way beast at age 17. I believe Tatum has been mentoring him. Not only is he going to be a top player, but he’s going to be what many have been waiting for, a white American NBA superstar.

I really hate that some people actually care whether a player is black or white, but to ignore that issue regarding Flagg would be dishonest. The NBA is going to market the hell out of him. I’m guessing they are regretting not putting him on the Olympic team. If a team member gets injured, I wouldn’t be surprised if Flagg is named a replacement

EDIT: I just now noticed that Kawai is injured. What a surprise. I guess they might be going with Derrick White, which makes a lot of sense. JB would be a good choice too.
 
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