The big news out of training camp for the USA Men's National Team is that Derrick Rose not only jumped, but also landed without incident and then repeated the process in impressive fashion over the first two days in Las Vegas.
While that doesn't sound like good news for the Pacers, I was certainly excited to see what Rose was able to do as someone who appreciates eye-popping plays from the NBA's elite players. I'm also expecting the storyline to begin driving me nuts some time around late October. But for now, D-Rose is on our team so we might as well enjoy.
Pacers forward Paul George is trying to make his way into a role for the USA MNT in the upcoming FIBA World Championships which begin Aug. 30. Defense seems to be a focus for coach Mike Krzyzewski which bodes well for PG, but there is also loads of talent in Vegas at the wing position.
Regardless of what happens with PG with regard to the national team, his experience in the competitive environment in Vegas will be a plus. George discussed how things are going and what he's focusing on after practice on Tuesday.
On whether he's grown closer to anybody since the start of training camp practice:
"Yeah. I grew closer with a lot of these guy. A lot of these guys I consider brothers so it's good to come out here, work hard and train together."
On if he's gotten closer with anybody specific:
"John (Wall). John is always my guy. It's good to be here with DeMarcus (Cousin). I enjoy playing with Gordon (Hayward). It's my first time being alongside KD (Kevin Durant). It's gaining a little chemistry with all those guys."
On the similarities and differences between the USA Basketball coaches and other coaches he's had during his career:
"Monty (Williams) is straight to the point. He lets you know what's going on. He gives you assignments. His mind for basketball is at an elite level as far as the coaches in this league. It varies. Each coach brings something that another coach doesn't bring. Not to say that that coach doesn't have it, but it's just the way that he delivers that message. It's great to get coaching from all these guys in here."
On his relationship with National Team Coach Mike Krzyeswski:
"It's growing. The more and more I'm around him, the more I get a better understanding of what he wants from me here. And it's the same thing for him. He gets to learn what kind of player I am and what I can do on the floor for him. So the more we're around, I think our chemistry will grow."
On what the coaches are stressing most to the players:
"It's defense and keeping that intensity. USA Basketball, we rely on our athleticism, our elite speed, our elite quickness to make plays and get out and play a fast-tempo."
On if he feels today's practice went better than Monday's:
"I do. I think yesterday was kind of warming up to everybody and today we understand what we're doing, we know our plays. So we got after it a little better and a little easier today."