Jul 25, 2013; Las Vegas, NV, USA; USA White Team guard Paul George pulls down a defensive rebound away from USA Blue Team center DeMarcus Cousins during the 2013 USA Basketball Showcase at the Thomas and Mack Center. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Paul George Begins Team USA Training Camp Today

Paul George is looking to represent Team USA for the first time this summer when the FIBA Basketball World Cup kicks off on August 30 in Spain. The United States is the defending champ, but it has actually only won one of the past four events, which until this year were known as the FIBA World Championship. Spain took the championship in 2006, and Yugoslavia won in 2002 and 1998.

The lack of success is in part due to the fact that USA Basketball has prioritized the Olympic years. And players have been reluctant to spend their summers playing abroad while risking injury for a trophy that isn’t all that important to most people in the United States.

This tendency is playing out now, as Blake Griffin,  Kevin Love, and Jimmy Butler have pulled out of the training camp that will be used to determine the final roster.

USA Basketball director Jerry Colangelo admitted that he was ¨disappointed¨ with Griffin`s decision. But he has sent a camp invite to Paul Millsap and doesn’t seem concerned about losing some size.

“The fact is we can only look to the players we have available,” said Colangelo. “Our job is to get the job done with our very, very deep roster, and we’re anxious to get things started.”

Paul George`s Role

Presumably, George’s spot is already a lock. In fact, his presence may be even more valuable now that the team lacks some options at the power forward spot. According to Marc Spears of Yahoo! Sport, Colangelo believes PG can play some stretch 4 in the international game.

This just goes to show how versatile the Pacer star has become.

Until Danny Granger got injured, Paul George played the 2 spot almost exclusively. Now, he is viewed as a forward — and one who is big and skilled enough to play some 4 outside of the more physical NBA game.

Team USA Training Camp Invites

Here is the full group that Paul George will be playing alongside in training camp, from today until August 1, when the roster will be paired down to its final form.

  • Bradley Beal (Washington Wizards)
  • DeMarcus Cousins (Sacramento Kings)
  • Stephen Curry (Golden State Warriors)
  • Anthony Davis (New Orleans Pelicans)
  • DeMar DeRozan (Toronto Raptors)
  • Andre Drummond (Detroit Pistons)
  • Kevin Durant (Oklahoma City Thunder)
  • Kenneth Faried (Denver Nuggets)
  • Paul George (Indiana Pacers)
  • James Harden (Houston Rockets)
  • Gordon Hayward (Utah Jazz)
  • Kyrie Irving (Cleveland Cavaliers)
  • Kyle Korver (Atlanta Hawks)
  • Damian Lillard (Portland Trail Blazers)
  • Derrick Rose (Chicago Bulls)
  • Chandler Parsons (Dallas Mavericks)
  • Klay Thompson (Golden State Warriors)
  • John Wall (Washington Wizards)

While the loss of Love and Griffin shouldn’t affect Paul George, it will hurt Teams USA’s chances.

The squad has now lost two deft-shooting bigs, a skill even more critical in the international game than the NBA to spread the floor. It also leaves the team with two fewer All-Stars to battle against the Gasols, Marc and Pau, and Serge Ibaka of Spain in what most expect to be the final matchup.

Regardless, the camp will decide the Mike Krzyzewski-led roster after it concludes on August 1. (Jim Boeheim, Tom Thibodeau, and Monty Williams will serve as assistant coaches.)

Team USA Schedule

Then comes the training leadup to the 2014 World Cup, with the following tune-ups scheduled.

August 16 – USA vs Brazil (Chicago, United Center)
August 20 – USA vs Dominican Republic (New York, MSG)
August 22 – USA vs Puerto Rico (New York, MSG)
August 26 – USA vs Slovenia (Gran Canaria, Spain)

Here is Team USA’s World Cup group stage schedule once the games officially begin.

August 30 – USA vs Finland
August 31 – USA vs Turkey
September 2 – USA vs New Zealand
September 3 – USA vs Dominican Republic
September 4 – USA vs Ukraine

After that, the teams (and presumably the United States) move on to the knockout round schedule.

September 6-7 | Round of 16
September 9-10 | Quarterfinals
September 11-12 | Semifinals
September 13 | Third-place game
September 14 | Championship

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