Myles Turner’s tweets regarding Team USA being eliminated from the 2019 FIBA World Cup.

Indiana Pacers‘ Myles Turner took on twitter after the Team USA was eliminated from the 2019 FIBA World Cup.

“From 1-12 top to bottom this team this roster has sacrificed so much for our nation. our summers, our bodies, our mental. We came up short can’t nobodies more upset than us but I refuse to tolerate any Slander for our play you cannot question our heart.

Our character, or are spirit we layed it all out on the line each and every game. Don’t disrespect us, this coaching staff or USA Basketball as a whole but respect the world basketball is an international game these countries are talented.

JB, Khris, JT, Dmitch, Mason, Marcus, Kemba, D White, BrooK, HB, Joe it’s been an honor I’d go to war with any of these fellas any given night. #Godspeed fellas let’s head home with a Dub 

We’re also the ones who stepped up to the plate when others stepped down. We qualified our nation for the Olympics we got some work to do to rebuild a legacy that was left before us were on the wrong side of history indeed. But that’s gunna make the next medal that much sweeter!”

Fantasy Basketball: 2019 Boston Celtics Preview

The Celtics have enjoyed four straight winning seasons, with the trend likely continuing this season despite losing several key pieces. Kyrie Irving, Al Horford, Terry Rozier, and Marcus Morris all bolted for greener pastures. These may seem like a devastating losses, but opportunities are now present for young guns Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum to step up and take their games to the next level. Gordon Hayward is another year removed from his gruesome injury and should be a bounce back candidate. Oh, and the additions of Kemba Walker and Enes Kanter don’t hurt either. The Celts did some addition by subtraction, and are primed to challenge for the Eastern Conference title yet again.

Jaylen Brown’s Play For Team USA Could Dramatically Increase His FA Stock

Jaylen Brown has stepped up for USA Basketball during international play and the 22-year-old is showcasing growth in his game at a time when it’s most critical. The former No. 3 overall pick has just one season left on his rookie-scale deal with the Celtics and his play in China may provide a blueprint for how he can answer some of the remaining questions about his game.

Brown is an athletic talent with obvious weaknesses capping his potential. Shot-creation and play-making haven’t been his calling card since coming into the league out of the University of California. During his 222 career NBA games, he’s only recorded five assists on one occasion (1/16/18 vs. the Pelicans) and while his usage increased last season, it correlated with a slight dip in player efficiency rating.

As I previously wrote for Hoops Rumors, many executives around the league aren’t overly concerned with the risk of signing Brown to a long-term deal despite the perception that he’ll never develop into one of the top players on a contending team. However, while he may have a safe floor; his perceived limited ceiling may adversely impact him in negotiations on his next contract.

Brown’s play for Team USA could be the catalyst that allows him to elevate his status in the league. He’s increased his role since Jayson Tatum went down with an ankle injury, showcasing play-making ability from a different position than he’s accustomed to playing: the power forward position.

In just 26 minutes against Brazil, Brown recorded four assists while adding 11 points, four rebounds, and three steals. Coach Gregg Popovich recently praised Brown for his versatile game as a small-ball four.

“[Brown is] a strong player. For his size and strength, he moves well,” Popovich told reporters after USA’s win over Brazil (via Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports). “He can really penetrate. He can catch and pull, or get to the rim … He works on defense. He’s just kind of an all-around player. He’s stepped in and given us good minutes on both ends of the floor for sure.”

Coach Brad Stevens hasn’t played Brown at power forward much since the 6’7″ wing came into the league. With Marcus Morris residing in Boston, there wasn’t much of a need. Brown didn’t see any action there last season and spent just 3% of his minutes at the four during the 2017-18 season, per Basketball Reference. However, Morris has departed in free agency. Al Horford is no longer around to periodically steal minutes at the four and the Celtics’ roster lacks a proven option at power forward.

Brown’s long-term fit in Boston could be as a small-ball four in Stevens’ offense. Jayson Tatum and Gordon Hayward are arguably best-suited on the wing and assuming Hayward returns close to his peak form (still an if), Brown at the four may be the only way to get the Celtics’ five best players on the floor at the same time.

Brown is currently eligible for a rookie-scale extension and whether he signs that deal now or waits until he’s a restricted free agency next summer, predicting the figures on a new contract is no easy task. There isn’t expected to be many top players on the free agent market next July, which is something that will help Brown’s camp in negotiations. Carrying over his international success at the four spot could be another factor.

It’s unclear exactly how the Celtics will integrate all of their new parts this upcoming season or if Brown’s international play will impact Stevens’ plan for the rotation. The coach spent time with USA Basketball earlier in the summer and remains a “cheerleader from afar.” Like many, Stevens believes the offseason tournaments benefit player development.

The 2019 FIBA World Cup and 2019-20 NBA season are critical periods for Brown, who has until October 21 to reach an agreement on an extension with the Celtics. Perhaps his evolution to play-making, small-ball four could be another example of how a summer of international basketball can help a player realize all of his potential.

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Team USA Stifles Giannis Antetokounmpo, Beats Greece

Giannis Antetokounmpo was held to 15 points on 7-of-11 shooting and 13 rebounds, as Team USA defeated Greece 69-53 Saturday in a FIBA World Cup second-round matchup.

Gregg Popovich‘s game plan for slowing down The Greek Freak worked to perfection, as the rest of his squad shot just 25 percent from the field.

Things also grew testy in the game’s dying moments after Antetokounmpo’s brother Thanasis took Harrison Barnes down with an unnecessarily hard foul.

Per The Athletic:

Giannis Antetokounmpo sat the whole fourth quarter. His brother nearly killed Harrison Barnes on a dirty play after the outcome was no longer in doubt.

“Yeah, I said something to Giannis. Well, Giannis said something to me, really,” [Jaylen] Brown said.

“We took exception to that hard foul,” [Marcus] Smart said. “The game was pretty much over, and you had no way of blocking the shot. At that moment, you’ve got to prepare for injuries, and you don’t want nobody to be injured. We just let them know it’s a learning moment for him (Thanasis) at that time. Because if the tables were turned and somebody did that to (Giannis), we’d probably be having a whole different discussion right now.”

Even with Barnes on him to start, Antetokounmpo came out hungry. He bullied his way in for a layup, canned a 3 and then dunked hard over Milwaukee teammate Khris Middleton for his first three baskets. But he grew tired as the game wore on — and probably tired of watching Greece miss shot after shot. Pop used Barnes and Smart and Brown to guard him.

“Over the course of the game, he dwindled a little bit,” Brown said.

Related Brazilian Coach: ‘We Have Several Players Who Can Stop’ Giannis Antetokounmpo

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Team USA upset with Antetokounmpos after foul

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Members of Team USA and Greece had to be separated after the FIBA game today. USA players, especially Jaylen Brown, were furious about the late foul by Thanasis Antetokounmpo on Harrison Barnes. 

The teams didn’t have the traditional postgame handshake. USA coach Gregg Popovich gathered his team on the floor to allow the Greeks to leave so the two teams wouldn’t meet in the tunnel.

“Yeah, I said something to Giannis. Well, Giannis said something to me,” Jaylen Brown said. “But we’ve got bigger fish to fry. So we move on.”

Giannis Antetokounmpo declined to talk to the media after the game.

Barnes, who finished with nine points and seven rebounds, was uninjured.

“The game was over; probably a frustration play,” Barnes said. “Apologies only go so far. If I don’t get up and something would’ve happened, apologies aren’t going to help us in the next game. Luckily everything is all good.”

The United States is now on the brink of securing the top spot in Group K following this 69-53 victory over Greece at the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup.

The United States (4-0, eight points) is the only undefeated team in Group K and will secure a spot in the knockout phase with one more win.

Team USA Defeats Japan 98-45 in FIBA World Cup 🇺🇸

Forty-eight hours after a nail-biter against Turkey, Team USA breezed by Japan, 98-45, to go 3-0 in Group E and advance to the second round of the 2019 FIBA World Cup.

Jaylen Brown lead all scorers with 20 points and 7 rebounds, including a poster dunk with USA up 60 points; Kemba Walker had 15 points and 8 assists; and Harrison Barnes finished with 14 points and 8 rebounds.

“I think we’ve got a lot of room for improvement,” Brown said after the game. “Of course, we are looking forward to the next matchup. I think we are focused on us and getting better and representing our country the right way.”

Next up for Team USA are the Group F winners Brazil and Greece in the second round.

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Fantasy Basketball: Top 150 for 2019

We halfway home. Woo hoo! Take me home, country roads. To the Old Town Road? You want to hear how washed I am? I didn’t know about that song until the young 20-something-girl who takes care of a kid at my son’s school told me about it. Please, blog, may I have some more?