Team USA is deep at point guard
by Jeff Zillgitt, USA TODAY Sports
LAS VEGAS – The template is set for USA Basketball’s point guard position.
Just look at Chris Paul and Deron Williams, U.S. coach Mike Krzyzewski said. But don’t just look at their skill set, look at their ability to play together on the court at the same time.
For the deep list of point guards on the roster for this week’s mini-camp – Mike Conley, Jrue Holiday, Kyrie Irving, Ty Lawson, Damian Lillard, Kemba Walker and John Wall – Krzyzewski delivered a message.
“Don’t come in and everybody try to be a point guard. Try to be a guard,” Krzyzewski told the group.
It is an adaptation of combo-guard trend in the NBA. The ability to play point guard and shooting guard gives a team more versatility, and the U.S. will need versatility on the perimeter, especially at the three-point line, at next summer’s FIBA Basketball World Cup in Spain.
“We said both of those guys (Paul and Williams) played together, and they’re both outstanding point guards,” Krzyzewski said. “And they both had to play differently because they were playing with Kobe (Bryant), LeBron (James) and (Kevin) Durant.
“We’re looking at how they can adapt and I thought (Tuesday) all of them did a really good job.”
For years now in the NBA, the point guard position has been loaded with talent, and based on the list of those invited to the camp – and those not participating but expected to be considered for next summer’s team (Russell Westbrook, Derrick Rose) – the surplus remains.
“I see guys who are really competitive,” Lillard said. “I see guys who can score. They’re all pretty good defenders. They’re pretty fast. They’re all guys who can bring something to the table for the team. It’s stiff competition.”
The U.S. might not be able to bring more than two point guards from that list to Spain and maybe just one depending on Westbrook, who wants to play, and Rose, who may want to play.
While no decision will be made on next summer’s roster now, USA Basketball’s staff will have a difficult time making selections a year from now. The performance … [For more on Team USA is deep at point guard, click here.]