Last night in Sin City, the Team USA intra-squad scrimmage took place in what was basically a televised tryout to make the 2014 World Cup roster. And while there were moments of brilliance for most of the NBA’s finest young stars, one truth proved explicitly relevant.* Only a 2013-2014 season from hell will stop Kyrie Irving and Anthony Davis from playing on next summer’s squad.
The two former #1 overall picks put on a clinic of sequences. Kyrie led all scorers with 23 points to go along with seven assists. The face of Cleveland basketball also led the charge for the White Team who erased a 10-point hole to coast to a 128-106 victory. Davis, on the other end, led all Blue Team scorers with 22 points (on 13 shots) and seven rebounds.
With the Collegiate and International Hardwood Gawd Coach K watching from the sideline, every player who stepped on the court used the moment to provide an on-court resume for why they deserve the honor of playing for their country next summer (and beyond). Of course, highlights were delivered in surplus, but looking forward to next year’s potential squad…
1. It’s difficult to see how Kyrie doesn’t make this team pending he’s healthy. Chris Paul’s a given, as is Derrick Rose who should be on board. Irving’s built as one of the league’s brightest of stars, however, and having his talent showcased on an international level is damn near a no-brainer.
2. If last summer’s Olympics proved anything, Team USA needs big men and Ant Davis is about as promising as the league has. He knocked down his first five jumpers last night. Couple an improving offensive game, with tenacious rebounding and rim protection and the ability to run the floor (as seen below), and the kid is a prototypical big man for international play in today’s world.
3. Steph Curry has to be considered a lock, right? I mean, there’s no way we’re going overseas without him, right? RIGHT?! Coach K would never cheat us out of a Curry/Durant thunderstorm of threes. No way, no how.
4. Seriously, if a random lineup of Kyrie-Rose-Westbrook-Durant-B. Griffin is used just for two minutes in the first half of a game on some “shits and giggles” experimentation debauachery, some poor sap from another country could literally lose an arm from trying to block an alley oop. Or have their ankles implode like this. I’m here for all sorts of gruesome acts of (aerial) violence like that, for the record.
Bonus: This was the most impressive dunk of the night, though. Hands down.
* – Monty Williams and Tom Thibodeau were the coaches.
Photo: Getty Images