The Knicks and Nets may benefit from having star players involved in the World Cup this summer, writes Ian Begley of SNY.tv. New York’s Jalen Brunson and Josh Hart were both starters for Team USA, while RJ Barrett was an important member of the Canadian squad that captured the bronze medal. Brooklyn’s Mikal Bridges also started for the Americans and Cameron Johnson was on the team, although he didn’t play as much.
Begley cites research from ESPN’s Kevin Pelton (subscription required), who studied the NBA performance of players from 2010 to 2021 after they took part in international competitions. Pelton found they averaged 2.1 points per 100 possessions above the league average.
At last year’s training camp, Begley talked to Evan Fournier, a veteran of international basketball with the French team, about what it’s like to go straight from a tournament to an NBA season with almost no rest in between.
“It really hits you in December; you have the first wave of fatigue,” Fournier said. “It’s not my first time dealing with it, so I know how to manage myself. I know being in the weight room is going to be very important. Sleep is going to be very important, but … I’ll be all right.”
There’s more from the Atlantic Division:
- The Knicks are optimistic after advancing to the conference semifinals last season, but a lack of height at the wings could be a concern, observes Zach Braziller of The New York Post (subscription required). Apart from Barrett, New York has to rely on undersized options such as Hart, Quentin Grimes and Donte DiVincenzo.
- Dennis Schröder told “NBA Today” that new head coach Darko Rajakovic played an important role in his decision to sign with the Raptors (Twitter link from ClutchPoints). “I think Darko, the head coach,” Schröder said. “… I met him five years ago in OKC. We became friends. … I definitely said to my agent, ‘I want be there.’ … I think it’s a great fit.”
- The Celtics‘ trade for Kristaps Porzingis was the best offseason move in the Atlantic Division, David Aldridge of The Athletic contends in a discussion of the division with other Athletic writers. However, Aldridge, Josh Robbins and Jared Weiss all agree that Boston took a risk regarding team culture by parting with Marcus Smart in the deal and not keeping Grant Williams. Robbins and Weiss cite the Sixers‘ coaching change, replacing Doc Rivers with Nick Nurse, as the most impactful move.