The Jazz will be among the NBA’s best-represented franchises at this year’s FIBA World Cup, and team officials believe the benefits of international competition outweigh the risks, writes Andy Larsen of The Salt Lake Tribune. Donovan Mitchell was the leading scorer for Team USA in Friday’s win over Spain and appears to be headed for a significant role. Rudy Gobert is one of the stars of the French team, while Joe Ingles is a prominent player for Australia.
“We’ve been the beneficiaries this year, and for quite a few years now, of national team experience,” said new Utah GM Justin Zanik.
They’ve also seen the down side, as Dante Exum suffered a torn ACL four years ago in an exhibition game against Slovenia. The injury sidelined Exum for the entire 2015/16 season and launched an injury-plagued career for the Australian guard, who has played a combined 56 games over the past two seasons.
“I think we want to support, certainly, our players’ goals in terms of getting better and their desires to compete and play for their national teams. We also support them if they choose not to,” Zanik said. “We want them to train, and whether that be at our great facilities, or whether or not they’re in the country, we want to support them in getting better and pursuing their goals.”
There’s more tonight from the Northwest Division:
- Nuggets guard Malik Beasley is keeping his summer routine a secret as he works to follow up his breakthrough season, relays Alex Labidou of NBA.com. During the 2018/19 campaign, Beasley raised his scoring average from 3.2 to 11.3 PPG and improved his long-distance shooting to 40.2%. “If I can make through this season without being injured, that’s the first thing. I’m good with that,” Beasley said. “Everything will fall into place from the hard work this summer.”
- Nuggets rookie Bol Bol covers a wide range of topics — basketball and otherwise — in an interview with Bryan Kalbrosky of Hoops Hype. Bol says Mavericks big man Kristaps Porzingis is among his favorite players and he tries to learn from watching him, along with Giannis Antetokounmpo and Anthony Davis.
- Two offseason trades will determine the success of the Trail Blazers’ offseason, writes David Yapkowitz of Basketball Insiders. Portland added a pair of rotation players by dealing for Hassan Whiteside, who will eventually be part of an imposing center rotation when Jusuf Nurkic returns from injury, and Kent Bazemore, who may start at small forward.