USA Basketball managing director Grant Hill confirmed on Monday that Team USA won’t require its invitees to try out for World Cup or Olympic rosters or to make any sort of multiyear commitment to the program, writes Joe Vardon of The Athletic.
Under former managing director Jerry Colangelo, Team USA invited more than 12 players to its World Cup camp and then made cuts from there to finalize its roster. Colangelo also asked stars to commit to taking part in Team USA activities for more than a single offseason in an effort to develop some roster continuity. However, Hill is hoping that continuity can be established quickly by selecting a 12-man roster early without going through the tryout process and then letting those dozen players develop chemistry with one another.
“There’s been a little bit of a generational shift that’s occurred in the league and basketball in general, and so I think we have to be willing to adapt and adjust to the times and adapt and adjust to players today,” Hill said, per Vardon. “We feel that it’s best served going forward to use that time to come together as a team and to really work on building that chemistry and that camaraderie and preparing for a very different game and a different style of play that exists in international play.”
Hill also announced on Monday that Team USA will play pre-World Cup exhibition contests against Spain and Slovenia this August ahead of previously confirmed tune-up games in Abu Dhabi. Spain, on the strength of its 2019 World Cup victory, is currently the No. 1 team in FIBA’s international rankings, while Slovenia will be led by Mavericks star Luka Doncic.
Here are more odds and ends from around the basketball world:
- Grizzlies wing Desmond Bane and big man Jaren Jackson Jr. are among the players that have been asked by Team USA head coach Steve Kerr about the possibility of suiting up for the U.S. in the World Cup later this year, according to Vardon.
- NBA deputy commissioner Mark Tatum acknowledged that the All-Star Game could benefit from some “tweaks,” but doesn’t believe the event needs to be fundamentally altered, he tells Leonard Solms of ESPN. “We have to be cautious. It is an exhibition game, so we don’t want players getting hurt during that game,” Tatum said. “Understand: there’s a balance there. It’s something that we’re looking at – and having conversations, by the way, with the players, on things that we might be able to do differently next year.”
- Ben Rohrbach of Yahoo Sports takes a deep dive into the challenges of collective bargaining for the NBA and its’ players union, exploring why the next CBA is more likely to include a series of modest tweaks rather than any sweeping changes.