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USA Basketball president on Paul George: “The stanchion is not the issue here”; Coach K talks Rose, roster

Aug 5, 2014, 3:40 PM EDT

USA Basketball had a huge blow Friday night when Paul George went down with a scary, horrific injury that will keep him out next season.

After the game USA Basketball’s president Jerry Colangelo and coach Mike Krzyzewski said they wanted to take a step back and gather themselves. But when they spoke with the media on Wednesday they had to deal with was the remnants of that injury. Both how it happened — was the stanchion being too close to the court the problem? — and how they move forward on the court.

Colangelo reiterated that the USA Basketball’s relationship with Las Vegas and the Thomas & Mack arena are fine, and that this was a fluke situation about big players moving fast, not the arena or stanchion. He said USA basketball plans to be back in Vegas.

“The NBA All-Star Game was played on that court with those stanchions. The NBA Summer League is played there…” Colangelo said in a media conference call. “The stanchion is not the issue here. Some people want to make it an issue, but it’s not.”

Coach Krzyzewski said he had planned to play George heavy minutes — which makes sense because of what he would bring defensively — and what you can expect to see now is Team USA get even smaller.

“We have to look at how we will do the perimeter, and it means that some of the guys who play the two will have to play the three. We will be a little smaller without Paul,” Krzyzewski said.

Team USA is down to 16 players now in the pool that will eventually be whittled down to 12: Anthony Davis (New Orleans Pelicans), Kevin Durant (Oklahoma City Thunder), James Harden (Houston Rockets), Stephen Curry (Golden State Warriors), Derrick Rose (Chicago Bulls), Mason Plumlee (Brooklyn Nets), DeMarcus Cousins (Sacramento Kings), DeMar DeRozan (Toronto Raptors), Andre Drummond (Detroit Pistons), Kenneth Faried (Denver Nuggets), Gordon Hayward (Utah Jazz), Kyrie Irving (Cleveland Cavaliers), Kyle Korver (Atlanta Hawks), Damian Lillard (Portland Trail Blazers), Chandler Parsons (Dallas Mavericks), and Klay Thompson (Golden State Warriors). Bradley Beal, John Wall and Paul Millsap were released from the team. 

• Krzyzewski was effusive with the praise for Derrick Rose: “(Rose) He was sensational all week… fast, strong and decisive… He really created an air of excitement at practices. We were all anxious to see who he was. And who he is is very, very good…

“The first defensive exchange in camp, he was all over the ball-handler. There was a buzz right away. He wasn’t just saying, ‘I’m back.’ He was saying, ‘I’m back at a level that’s elite.’”

• Krzyzewski on whether Gordon Hayward’s chances of making the team just went up with George being out: “We think Gordon is one of the really good young players in the league and is very versatile. With Paul’s injury, losing a guy who is an All-Star who is 6’8”, Gordon is 6’8” also.”

• Krzyzewski on Lillard: “We’re heavy with outstanding talent at the guard spot… Damian had a good week, I think he can play even better. But part of it is growing accustomed to playing with these guys and playing a different role.”

• Krzyzewski on Durant and how he is different than two years before: “I think he’s stronger physically, I think he’s stronger emotionally and wants to assert him in that leadership road.”

• Krzyzewski on DeMarcus Cousins: “Cousins gives us a big that is different than Anthony Davis. We’re looking at the big position, the five, kind of separate from the other four spots. Cousins had a good week…

“His attitude is tremendous in that he wouldn’t come back if this didn’t mean something to him…. He made a huge impact on all of us, during the week but especially at the scrimmage.”

• Krzyzewski on Irving: “Kyrie was one of the better players in the camp, he has one of the unique skill sets at the guard because he can run a team but can also play off the ball because he’s such a good shooter. He’s going to have to do that in Cleveland, too.”

  1. nbascreed - Aug 5, 2014 at 3:50 PM

    I’m mystified how he can say that in good faith. It’s clear the stanchion was in fact the issue. Watch the tape…PG is expecting to come down…like he’s done a million times before, except this time the stanchion is there to abruptly break his fall.

    Just because it has NOT happened before doesn’t mean it’s not the issue.

    Ridiculous statement from a guy who knows that Indiana/their insurer/the insurers re-insurerer may becoming after USA Basketball and Thomas and Mack. IMO it’s a valid issue.

    • eugenesaxe1 - Aug 5, 2014 at 4:01 PM

      It’s an issue, he knows it’s an issue. He’s just playing nice with the press.

    • ProBasketballPundit - Aug 5, 2014 at 4:16 PM

      Yeah I didn’t think the stanchion was the issue at first either but then I watched it frame by frame and Paul George clearly came down on his leg at a terrible angle because he hit the stanchion first.

    • antistratfordian - Aug 5, 2014 at 4:16 PM

      Yeah, and they’re forgetting that Kevin Ware’s leg snapped because of a stanchion. So it is clearly the issue.

      • ProBasketballPundit - Aug 5, 2014 at 4:17 PM

        WTF is wrong with you? The only thing those two injuries have in common is that they’re both horrific. Paul George’s leg was extended to brace his fall and then it got interrupted by the stanchion and forced to come straight down instead of sideways.

      • antistratfordian - Aug 5, 2014 at 4:43 PM

        Calm yourself, PBPundit. Yes, we’re all aware of how George broke his leg. The point is that the same injury can happen on a basketball court with or without a stanchion in the vicinity.

        And how many times has a basketball player come down near that stanchion? A million times? And how many times has someone snapped their leg on it? Once? That it happened on the stanchion doesn’t mean there is an issue with the stanchion. It was a freak accident.

      • titansbro - Aug 5, 2014 at 4:58 PM

        well seeing as how the stanchion was actually 1 inch less than the minimum (not recommended, but the minimum) i’d say it was an issue. maybe no one else has snapped a leg on it, but other injuries have happened due to it being too close. it clearly caused the injury in this case. kevin ware’s injury has nothing to do with this. otherwise we’d be talking about soccer players & mma fighters who’ve had similar broken legs.

      • antistratfordian - Aug 5, 2014 at 5:29 PM

        @titansbro – You’re missing the point. Freak accidents can happen anywhere. George could’ve snapped his leg just landing on the floor like Ware – we’ll never know. Maybe the real issue is George’s bones.

        But players get hurt flying into the stands all the time – they have to jump over cameramen often – sometimes they faceplant into cameras – that doesn’t mean that everyone needs to be moved 30 feet away from the sidelines. Players just have to be careful.

        This injury was probably literally a one in a million thing. You can move it back and someone can still get injured on it. Players shouldn’t take their landings for granted when they’re flying out of bounds – in this case George was more concerned about if the ball was going into the basket rather than where his body was headed.

    • urallstupid - Aug 5, 2014 at 5:26 PM

      what an irresponsible comment, he landed on it, so it is too close. no one cares about player safety. its too bad the players themselves dont either.

      • antistratfordian - Aug 5, 2014 at 5:31 PM

        Players can still land on it if you move it back. It’s not too close. It’s been at that distance for decades. No issues. It’s also about the same distance as some NBA stanchions apparently.

  2. misremembered72 - Aug 5, 2014 at 4:51 PM

    It’s 100% the stanchion, the NFL didn’t leave the goalposts on the field for a reason. You can’t put a stanchion 2 feet from where the basket is, where the best athletes in the world are running and jumping toward at full speed

    • antistratfordian - Aug 5, 2014 at 5:21 PM

      It’s not 2 feet from where the basket is – more like 9 feet. But why weren’t you saying this a week ago? Because it wasn’t an issue a week ago. It really isn’t an issue this week either.

      That’s the same stanchion distance during all of UNLV games. Never had an issue before. It actually seems to be about the same distance as the Heat’s stanchion in AAA:

      • urallstupid - Aug 5, 2014 at 5:30 PM

        i think a lot of people talks about the cameramen who take pictures being too close all the time. you see players flying in there after block attempts ALL the time, so if they’re too close, why is the stanchion not? bottom line, no one cares for player safety.

        regardless, it is irresponsible for USA basketball to just flat out say “oh hur hur, its not an issue”, instead of saying that they’ll look into how to make it safer for players.

  3. clevelandrox - Aug 5, 2014 at 5:06 PM

    please coach K! not only that how long will it take for the league to move the the photographers and other persons along the baseline back farther also???… until a lawsuit comes up…

  4. titansbro - Aug 5, 2014 at 5:52 PM

    If this was LeBron James you’d probably send a mailbomb to USA basketball headquarters.

  5. JT - Aug 5, 2014 at 7:00 PM

  6. sonnysuave - Aug 5, 2014 at 7:27 PM

    No way GHayward is 6’8″! Looks more like 6’6″. My guess is, he’ll be cut & not make the 12. Sad to say… all the white guys deserve to be cut (Plumlee, Korver, Hayward), since they haven’t shown much. Korver may stay, cuz they need shooters… but I’d take KThompson over him (more clutch, squares himself better for his shots on catch-n-shoots. Korver’s body tends to be off balance on his shots, coming off screens).

    • bkbell3 - Aug 6, 2014 at 12:34 AM

      Klay, 43% from the field and 40% from the 3. 13.9 career per and 14.4 last year with the league average at 15per. way to much hype for this guy and i haven’t seen him lock down anybody on defense yet.

      • bkbell3 - Aug 6, 2014 at 12:37 AM

        Oh and hayward shot 40% from the field and 30% from the 3 last year and his shooting has gone down every year as his usage has gone up.

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