Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart officially added to 2019 Team USA training camp roster
Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart. Photo via Brandon Dill
This morning it was reported by NBA insider Shams Charania that Boston Celtics shooting guard Jaylen Brown and New York Knicks center Julius Randle would be added to the Team USA training camp roster.
Boston’s Jaylen Brown and New York’s Julius Randle have been added onto USA Basketball’s training camp roster for World Cup, league sources told @TheAthleticNBA@Stadium. Team USA assembling young, talented squad comparable to 2010 gold medal team.
The news followed the announcements of two All-star caliber players withdrawing from the training camp, those being the Portland Trail Blazers' star point guard Damian Lillard and the San Antonio Spurs shooting guard DeMar DeRozan. These two wouldn't be the first to pull out of the camp as Los Angeles Lakers star Anthony Davis, MVP candidate James Harden, and first overall pick in the 2019 draft Zion Williamson amongst others have all removed themselves from consideration to make the final roster for the 2019 FIBA World Cup.
Trail Blazers All-NBA star Damian Lillard has withdrawn from Team USA’s training camp and FIBA World Cup play this summer, sources tell @TheAthleticNBA@Stadium.
Sources: San Antonio Spurs‘ DeMar DeRozan was added onto the original USA Basketball roster for World Cup one month ago, but the four-time All-Star has withdrawn from Team USA play this summer to focus on upcoming NBA season.
Jaylen Brown's recruitment was announced less than a day after fellow Celtics' guard and All-NBA defensive first teamer Marcus Smart was invited to the same camp. Active on Twitter as always, Smart was not bashful in sharing his excitement about the news as well as the opportunity to play alongside Celtics teammates Kemba Walker and Jayson Tatum who were already on the roster.
I love playin don’t matter where. But playing for @usabasketball is somethin I’ve been a part of for a while. I take it serious & am 🙏🏾 to even be thought of. ☘️ is everything to me. But to wear 🇺🇸 means the world to me. To do it w my teammates @KembaWalker & @jaytatum0 is 🔥 🔥
With all of this now official, Celtics fans should be amped up as we get closer to the FIBA World Cup this fall. Four of the Celtics' top players (Walker, Tatum, Brown, and Smart) now have a legitimate opportunity to build chemistry both on and off the court before the start of Boston's training camp in the pre-season. Getting the chemistry building portion between Kemba and the current Celtics started early could prove extremely valuable for the success of the team and raise the ceiling in terms of their potential next season.
Celtics duo Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum. Photo via Greg M. Cooper
Another reason to be excited is that with Damian Lillard dropping out, it is extremely likely that Kemba will be the starting point guard for Team USA and can continue to develop his leadership skills. There are not a lot of guys that get the experience to lead a team like this in World Cup play, so putting Kemba in this position could unlock new elements of his game. Not only is he the best point guard on this team, but he is now arguably the best player as well. This could prove to be the perfect start to an milestone season in his career.
Celtics point guard Kemba Walker. Photo via Brian Babineau
Just to add a cherry on top of all of this, a more optimistic approach to this Team USA experience would be the Celtics crew getting to know some of the other talents in the NBA on a more personal level. It was well known that Isaiah Thomas and Al Horford creating a dialogue on the Eastern Conference all-star team played a role in Horford joining the Celtics in free agency that summer. In more recent news, Kemba Walker also shared that his experience with Jayson Tatum at a Jordan brand event in Paris influenced his decision to consider a change from Buzzcity to Beantown.
With extremely young and talented players still on the Team USA training camp roster such as Donovan Mitchell, Kyle Kuzma, and Julius Randle as well as some older veterans like Andre Drummond and Kevin Love the window is certainly open to build some friendships and get to know guys that may be free agents a little down the road. Is it a little bit of a stretch? Maybe. But the possibilities are there and the potential of some new Green teamers in the future is certainly on the table.
Team USA head coach Gregg Popovich speaks to players at a Team USA training camp. Photo via Ethan Miller
So if you're looking to get a sneak preview at the 2019 Celtics try to pay attention to the FIBA World cup play happening this fall. For me, it's been too long since I've gotten to see a healthy Marcus Smart's energy on the court so I'd watch for that alone. The complete, trimmed down roster will be announced on August 17th with the World Cup starting August 31st. What we know so far about the games in Team USA's FIBA World Cup schedule can be seen down below.
Here is Team USA's schedule for the World Cup this summer (all times EST):
Sunday 9/1 - 8:30 AM
Tuesday 9/3 - 8:30 AM
Thursday 9/5 - 8:30 AM
Saturday 9/7 - TBD
Monday 9/9 - TBD