Intrasquad Scrimmage Awaits National Team as Las Vegas Training Camp Comes to a Close
With the fourth and final Las Vegas training session wrapping up Thursday at Mendenhall Center on the campus of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, all that’s left for the USA Basketball Men’s National Team in Las Vegas is tomorrow’s Blue vs. White intrasquad exhibition game.
But there was still plenty of work to do. Similar to the past couple practices, four sets of drills ran in the gym. Assistant coach Ime Udoka helped with post-ups, Steve Kerr worked with more assortments of motion offenses, Lloyd Pierce ran three-on-three pick-and-roll coverage while Jay Wright ran half-court sets for different types of down, drag, and flare screens.
The drills were more or less similar to the ones that were run all week. The focus of everything seemed to just get familiar with each other — a primary focus of camp. As the Select Team started filing in, the National Team players were partaking in more repetition with catch-and-shoot drills from the perimeter to floaters and mid-range.
The National Team coaching staff started the first scrimmage small going with Donovan Mitchell, Jaylen Brown, De’Aaron Fox, Harrison Barnes and P.J. Tucker. The Select Team countered with Derrick White, Pat Connaughton, Torrey Craig, John Collins and Jarett Allen.
Within the first few possessions, it was evident that the defensive zone schemes that the coaching staff has been emphasizing with the players seemed to finally translate to actual game play. The National Team converted a string of consecutive defensive stops to create easy offense and jumped out to an early 6-0 lead.... Tatum then ended the first scrimmage with a fadeaway bank shot to help the National Team take the first scrimmage 25-19.
The National Team decided to go with a more traditional look to start the second and last scrimmage with Kuzma, Myles Turner, and Harris joining Mitchell and Fox in the starting lineup. Van Gundy and assistant coach Mark Few ran out the same starting five as they did in the first scrimmage.
As he’s done on several occasions around this brief week, Mitchell got his team firing on all cylinders as he was essentially the floor general that gave his team a nice 17-5 cushion at the midway part of gameplay. The drills that were run earlier came into full effort as the National Team guys ran fluid, efficient aspects of their motion offense with decisive and precise passes to open shooters on the wings and corners. A barrage of 3s soon followed and essentially wrapped up the final scrimmage for the National Team with a 31-19 win.