Booker expressed his intentions this week in a Twitter exchange with Wizards forward Kyle Kuzma. “USA basketball better get some nba stars that know how to play a role,” Kuzma wrote. “Anybody can be nice with the ball in their hands but can you be cool with defending and going to the corner for a few possessions?”
Booker responded, “I’ll do it.”
Rankin notes that Booker accepted that responsibility two years ago when the U.S. won the gold medal in China. He only averaged 9.3 PPG during that Olympics, but he often guarded the opponent’s best scorer.
There’s more from the Pacific Division:
- Christian Wood projects to play a significant role for the Lakers, according to Jovan Buha of The Athletic. Wood will become the primary backup to Anthony Davis at center and can expect to see a lot of time at power forward as well. Buha adds that L.A. has a lot of interchangeable frontcourt players, with Wood, LeBron James, Rui Hachimura, Jarred Vanderbilt and Taurean Prince all capable of handling either forward spot, while Davis, Wood and Jaxson Hayes can play either the four or five.
- Lakers rookie Jalen Hood-Schifino has been working to develop his three-point shot this summer, Buha adds in a separate story. The No. 17 pick connected at just 33% from beyond the arc at Indiana last season. “I feel like I’ve made a lot of progress,” he said. “Being in the gym every day, getting up a lot of reps, working on my footwork, my form, mechanics and everything. Getting everything sharp. That’s definitely been a strong point and something that I’ve been really attacking every day.”
- Neemias Queta, who was waived by the Kings this week, could be an intriguing option for the Warriors, suggests Dalton Johnson of NBC Sports Bay Area. Johnson notes the 24-year-old center is still eligible for a two-way contract and Golden State has two slots open. Queta was runner-up in the G League’s MVP voting after averaging 17.7 points, 8.7 rebounds and 2.0 blocks per game with the Stockton Kings. Johnson also points out that Seth Cooper and David Fatoki, who are now in charge of the Warriors’ player development system, got a close look at Queta last year while running Golden State’s G League team.