George Joins USA Basketball for Start of Training Camp
For Paul George and Team USA, the quest for gold begins in earnest today.
George is one of 19 players scheduled to attend the USA Basketball Men’s National Team Training Camp in Las Vegas from Monday-Friday. George, who participated in USA Basketball’s mini-camp last summer, is striving to make the 12-man roster for the 2014 FIBA World Cup, which will take place in Spain from Aug. 30-Sept. 14.
The full training camp roster includes guards Bradley Beal, Stephen Curry, DeMar DeRozan, James Harden, Kyrie Irving, Damian Lillard, Derrick Rose, Klay Thompson, and John Wall; wings Kevin Durant, George, Gordon Hayward, Kyle Korver, and Chandler Parsons; and big men DeMarcus Cousins, Anthony Davis, Andre Drummond, Kenneth Faried, and Paul Millsap.
— NBA (@NBA) July 28, 2014
George seems likely to make the roster because of his size, shooting, and ability to defend multiple positions. If he makes Coach Mike Krzyzewski’s team, George would likely spend the bulk of his time at the small forward position, due to the number of quality guards on the roster. He also could be asked to occasionally play some at power forward in “small-ball” lineups.
Even with several high-profile names absent (players like LeBron James and Chris Paul never planned to play this summer, while Blake Griffin and Kevin Love recently dropped out), Team USA still figures to remain the favorite to take home the gold medal for the fourth straight major international competition.
Headlining the roster is Durant, the reigning NBA Most Valuable Player and a member of both the 2010 World Championship and 2012 Olympic squads. Four other players in camp have previously donned the red, white, and blue at a major tournament – Curry and Rose in 2010, Davis and Harden in 2012.
— NBA (@NBA) July 28, 2014
This week is the first of four scheduled training camp sessions for the Americans over the next month. After a week of practice, the 19 players will take part in the USA Basketball Showcase, a nationally-televised intrasquad scrimmage on Friday night at 9:00 p.m. ET on ESPN.
Photo Gallery: USA Basketball Holds First Practice »
According to NBA.com’s John Schumann, the tentative plan is to cut the roster down to 15 players after this week.
The remaining players will reassemble in Chicago on Aug. 14 for two days of training leading up to an exhibition game against Brazil on Aug. 16. They’ll then head to New York from Aug. 18-22, with exhibitions against the Dominican Republic on Aug. 20 and Puerto Rico on Aug. 22. The team’s final training camp will take place in Gran Canaria from Aug. 24-26, with a scrimmage against Slovenia on the last day.
The 2014 FIBA World Cup (formerly known as the World Championships) features 24 teams. In the first stage, the teams are divided into four groups of six and play each team in their group once. Team USA’s group also includes the Dominican Republic, Finland, New Zealand, Turkey, and Ukraine.
The four top teams in each group then advance to a 16-team single-elimination tournament. Other favorites for medals include host Spain, Argentina, Lithuania, France, Australia, and Brazil.
As many as four Pacers players could take part in the World Cup. In addition to George, forward Luis Scola has long been a fixture on the Argentinian national team, center Ian Mahinmi recently was added to France’s squad, and offseason acquisition Damjan Rudez is listed on Croatia’s roster on FIBA.com.
— Ian Mahinmi (@ianmahinmi) July 28, 2014
Be sure to check back with Pacers.com for updates on George and other Pacers players playing internationally over the next several weeks.