USA cruising through Americup, advances to Finals – ProBasketballTalk

Jeff Van Gundy remains undefeated as the Team USA coach.

He and a group of D-League players who will represent the USA in World Cup qualifying later this year and into next year — because international governing body FIBA decided to put qualifying during the NBA season — are 4-0 and have advanced to the Finals of the Americup tournament taking place in Argentina. The Americans have won their games by an average of 23.5 points per contest.

After the USA handled the Virgin Islands on Saturday 90-62 they are in the tournament Finals Sunday against Argentina or Mexico (the game was still underway as of this writing).

The USA is being led by Damian Hillard, who played in 39 games for the Pistons last season and is averaging 13 points a contest. After that Jameel Warney of the Texas Legends is averaging 10.8 per game, and Xavier Munford of the Greensboro Swarm is at 10.3 per contest but had 20 against the Virgin Islands Saturday. Warney leads the USA with 9 assists per game, while Larry Drew II is averaging 5 assists per contest.

Van Gundy will lead this Team USA squad in games in November and February as part of the World Cup Qualifying. Yes, you would think as the reigning World Cup and Olympic champion the USA wouldn’t have to play its way into the World Cup, but then you’re not thinking like FIBA. The USA should qualify, at which point NBA players coached by Gregg Popovich will suit up.

 

James Harden considers Houston his home. That’s why he donated $1 million to relief efforts in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.

But he did much more than that Saturday. He met with Houston’s mayor. He met with evacuees. He tried to find his role for how he could help beyond just writing a check.

Via the Houston Chronicle.

Harden met with Mayor Sylvester Turner to discuss the recovery efforts to rebuild after Hurricane Harvey. He visited with evacuees sheltered at the George R. Brown Convention Center….

“Obviously, the city is devastated,” Harden said. “We have to push forward. We have to find a way to get through it. We have to find a way to help the community out as much as possible. Reached out to the mayor. We wanted to help out and make sure we get the help where it needed to be.”

“This is home for me,” Harden told media at the convention center. “I wanted to say thank you to J.J. Watt for what he’s doing for the city. Thank you to the mayor for helping me. I just want to donate and give back to the community as much as I can.

Good on Harden. There will be more he can do because of his profile going forward, and teaming with the mayor is a good way to do it. There are a lot of ways you can donate and help at home. Including buying a T-shirt.

Rodney Stuckey was battling injuries and was unimpressive with the Pacers last season, playing in 39 games and averaging 7.2 points and 2.2 assists per contest, with a well below average 48.3 true shooting percentage. Indiana waived him before their playoff run.

Now the 10-year veteran is hoping for another shot, reports Shams Charania of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports.

Most NBA rosters are set, but there are teams who might want veteran depth at the two guard spot for the minimum. If nothing else, he can show he’s healthy and make a good impression for when the inevitable injuries happen and teams are looking to add a player.

HOUSTON (AP) — Houston Rockets point guard James Harden says he will donate $1 million to the city of Houston to aid in Harvey recovery.

Harden made the announcement Saturday with Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner. They spoke at a news conference at the NRG Center, which has housed evacuees since Harvey swamped the Houston area more than a week ago.

Harden went to high school in California and college in Arizona but said Houston is his home. He posed for photos with fans and said the money would go people who need it.

A number of others with ties to the Rockets and the NBA are donating money. Chris Paul gave $500,000 to J.J. Watt’s find (and he has yet to play a game for Houston), Rockets owner Leslie Alexander donated $10 million, and the NBA and its players’ union are combining to donate $1 million.

Oscar winners Sandra Bullock and Leonardo DiCaprio also have pledged $1 million to charities helping with Harvey relief.

Pau Gasol looking dominant in European play is to be expected.

Goran Dragic having a monster Eurobasket is more of a surprise.

Spain dominated the Czech Republic on Saturday, winning easily 93-56. Gasol had 26 points on 9-of-10 shooting, with eight rebounds as well. He was getting the line and just dominating inside.

It’s to be expected — Gasol is just 25 points away from being the EuroBasket all-time leading scorer. It speaks to his longevity and consistency.

Goran Dragic dominating shouldn’t be a shock, but it’s been impressive.

The Spurs and Heat may like what they see, but what they really want are these two stars to get through the tournament healthy.

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