Rob Mahoney for PBT defining some roles for Team USA: “Russell Westbrook: While Derrick Rose’s athleticism is appropriately designated as “pure” or simply “impressive,” Russell Westbrook’s athletic abilities are better termed as “unbridled.” There is some discipline in Westbrook’s game, but he’s at his most effective in bursts of unthinkable speed and power. Simply put, Westbrook has no delusions of being a finesse guard. He just wants to sprint up the court, jump a pass in transit, and throw it down over anyone that tries to stand in his way. Team USA can use that. Westbrook is a bit of a wild card; he’s capable of playing both on and off the ball, scoring and distributing (and rebounding — Westbrook is a remarkably good positional rebounder), creating turnovers or gambling too much. He’ll have a rough game now and again, but Westbrook is a necessary do-it-all element on this squad, even if his position is probably redundant.”
Kevin Durant on Ricky Rubio: “He’s an amazing defender, that’s one thing that stood out to me is how well he pressured the ball and disrupted our offense,” said Kevin Durant, who blocked Rubio’s final shot in an 86-85 USA win. “He’s flashy, he’s crafty as well and the passes he did…were kind of amazing.”
A study was done on if you should foul up three with seconds left. Harvard folks say it doesn’t matter. What do you think?
New Thunder property Tibor Pleiss is also competing in the World Championships and has done very well thus far for Germany. Here’s a scouting video of him that’s been compiled. (Man, German announcers are awesome.) (h/t justin)
Have you seen the Thunder bandwagon page at NewsOK? It’s pretty cool to click through.
The Painted Area previews Group B of the World Championships: “After not looking like himself for Team USA’s first few games, Kevin Durant seems to be finding his comfort level and reminding us why he has become one of the best players in the world at the tender age of 21. Offensive production from Durant will be a must against the best teams, as this roster sort of reminds us of the 2002 version in that it’s hurting a little for players who create their own shot. There was a lot pressure on Paul Pierce to produce every game.”