Red, white and Nuggets blue: Lawson, Faried at USA camp

Denver teammates taking part in USA Basketball training sessions in Las Vegas
by Aaron Lopez

A person’s status in life sometimes can be measured by the company he keeps.

This week, Denver Nuggets point guard Ty Lawson and forward Kenneth Faried will be in very good company.

Lawson and Faried are among the 28 players taking part in a USA Basketball mini-camp that started Monday in Las Vegas. The sessions will culminate with an intra-squad scrimmage on Thursday.

“The last couple years, I wanted to go to the tryouts,” Lawson said. “I’m excited to get my chance to go out there and see what I can do.”

The invitation illustrates how far both Lawson and Faried have come in the past two years.

Lawson served as Denver’s backup point guard to start the 2010-11 season but took over as the full-time starter when the Nuggets made a blockbuster three-team trade on Feb. 22, 2011.

Since then, he has emerged as one of the NBA’s rising young stars, averaging 16.2 points, 6.8 assists, 3.2 rebounds and 1.44 steals in 157 games as a starter.

Faried, the 22nd overall pick of the 2011 NBA Draft, has blossomed into a high-energy impact player. After playing sparingly for the first month-and-a-half of his rookie season, he stepped into a starting lineup and never relinquished the job.

Asked when he thought a future with USA Basketball might be possible, Lawson said: “Right after the trade. If felt if I was good enough to start, I could at least try to make my way on to the USA Team.”

Lawson will have some strong competition as USA Basketball coaches and staff begin to evaluate potential players for the U.S. National Team roster for the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup and the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

Other point guards taking part in the mini-camp are Mike Conley (Memphis Grizzlies), Jrue Holliday (Philadelphia 76ers), Kyrie Irving (Cleveland Cavaliers), Damian Lillard (Portland Trail Blazers) and Kemba Walker (Charlotte Bobcats).

“It’s going to be tough,” Lawson said. “Everybody’s really going to show what they’re made of. You might play against them in a game once or twice (during the NBA season), but four days straight are going to show what level player you really are.”

Lawson and Faried will try to catch the eye of Team USA coach Mike Krzyzewski, the longtime coach at Duke University. Lawson, who played at rival North Carolina, doesn’t anticipate any problems playing for Krzyzewski.

“He’s a cool guy. I’ve seen him a couple places and talked to him,” Lawson said. “The Rivalry was real when I was at UNC, but it’s over with. I can definitely play for Coach K.”

This week, there is no Carolina blue and no Duke blue. The only colors that matter are red, white and blue.