Photo: NBC Sports
By: Patrick Whalen
After about over a month of workouts and scrimmages, team USA’s Fiba World Cup roster is finally set and ready to go. After an injury to Kyle Kuzma in last nights exhibition vs Australia, the roster trimmed itself down to 12 players, including all 4 of its Celtics invites. Yes, Greg Popovich’s team will be lead by the core of the Boston Celtics with Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Kemba Walker, and Marcus Smart. The Boston 4 will be joined by most notably Utah Jazz star Donovan Mitchell, Indiana Pacers big man Myles Turner, and Sacramento Kings forward Harrison Barnes.
Full Roster below.
The Celtics will also be joined by some familiar foes from the Milwaukee Bucks. The Bucks are the only other team that has multiple players on the team with Brook Lopez and Khris Middleton both making the final roster.
These four guys definitely deserved to make coach Pops final cut especially after their performance against Australia in both exhibitions. Between the two games, Kemba averaged 22.5 ppg, 5 rpg, 1.5 apg while shooting 43.2%. Tatum averaged 8 ppg, 3 rpg, 2.5 apg while shooting 40%. Jaylen averaged 9.5 ppg, 4 rpg, 1 stl while shooting 66.7%. Smart only played in the second exhibition after being injured for most of camp but still had 7 points on 2/3 shooting with 3 assists in just 9 minutes of action.
In that second game, the US lost to Australia for the first time ever and most people wanted to immediately point the finger at the 4 Celtics but if you look closely they were the most effective players for team USA.
The other big news out of USA camp other than the final roster was the announcement of team captains. Greg Popovich gave not one but two Celtics the honor of being named a team captain. New Celtic Kemba Walker and long-time Celtic Marcus Smart were both named captains by Greg Popovich this week along with Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell. Kemba, when you look at the roster, was an easy choice for Captain as he is one of the older members one the team and is an NBA star that has been a natural team leader during his time in Charlotte. Smart was an unexpected selection, especially with him being sidelined with calf tightness for most of camp. But Smart’s defensive toughness and passion for the game are a couple of traits that Pop wants this team to have so making Smart a captain was an easy selection from that standpoint.
Now as long as we can have all 4 of our guys fully healthy and ready to go in training camp they should be ready to hit the ground running for this season. Plus hopefully, they can help lead team USA to another FIBA World Cup gold medal. Until then enjoy these highlights of Kemba picking the Aussie’s apart and don’t forget to subscribe to the website via email and follow us on twitter @TheParquetPod so you don’t miss any new content including our 2018-19 report cards. We’re dropping Kemba Walker’s this week and you won’t wanna miss it.