John Schuhmann of NBA.com on Team USA: “Like he did in 2010 (averaging 22.8 points per game on an effective field goal percentage of 65 percent), Kevin Durant will provide the star power. There’s no one in the world that can match up with the reigning MVP, who is even more dangerous when shooting from a shorter 3-point distance. But Durant will need help on both ends of the floor for the U.S. to win the World Cup, automatically qualify for the 2016 Olympics, and avoid having to play next summer. There are some locks for the roster (those who played in 2010 or 2012), but there will also be some interesting competitions for the remaining spots.”
Anthony Slater on Grant Jerrett: “He’s still a long way, physically, from being able to get on the court. And once healthy, it projects as an even steeper road to actually make an NBA impact, with the Thunder’s frontcourt stacked with trusted veterans and emerging youngsters. But with Kendrick Perkins and Nick Collison set to hit free agency after the season, Jerrett seems to be part of the team’s long-term planning. His recent deal is the latest and greatest example.”
Berry Tramel on Byron Scott’s bad timing: “And last week, Scott’s unfortunate timing continued. He was hired for his dream job, coaching his hometown team, the franchise for whom he starred. The Lakers hired Scott, but this isn’t the Lakers of Pat Riley or Phil Jackson. This Laker team seems as putrid as the post-LeBron Cavs. Kobe Bryant is old and cantankerous. And the roster is full of journeymen. Carlos Boozer, Kent Bazemore, Ed Davis, Xavier Henry, Wesley Johnson, Jordan Hill, MarShon Brooks, Nick Young. The Lakers drafted Julius Randle and signed Jeremy Lin, but this regal franchise is destined to win less than 30 games. Byron Scott knows what that’s like. But the turnarounds he enjoyed at New Jersey and Oklahoma City doesn’t seem likely to be repeated in LA. The coach with impeccable timing has lost that fortune.”
Big jersey number news: Anthony Morrow will wear No. 2 this season.
Ben Golliver of SI.com on the US team: “USA Basketball should be considered the favorite to win the FIBA World Cup, without any doubt. Krzyzewski will be able to start a lineup composed entirely of NBA All-Stars, led by the NBA’s reigning MVP, and that accumulation of talent is something that no other team in the field can match. A hypothetical Curry/Harden/George/Durant/Davis quintet should be just as deadly in reality as it looks on paper.”