Unless you’re into Enes Kanter workout videos--its’s August, check out his timeline--there’s not a lot of basketball basketball for fans. Luckily, Marcus Smart, Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, and Kemba Walker are in USA Basketball’s training camp, prepping for the FIBA World Cup in September. Team Shamrock is currently in Melbourne, Australia where they’ll play three friendlies, two against the host country and another vs. North American neighbor, Canada, before heading to China.
What role do you see for yourself here?
Jaylen Brown: Just being a utility guy, being aggressive. Of course, being aggressive and attacking, but also being a physical guy, being the guy that’s getting the rebounds, being the guy that’s diving on the floors for loose balls, being a guy that’s being physical, pushing guys around. But also, being aggressive. I feel like I can play the four, guard the fours with my strength and versatility, and it will be tough for a four to guard me. So, I’m just playing fast, playing hard, being physical, being smart, being a utility guy. Just get in where you fit.
Do you think your defense will translate to international basketball?
Marcus Smart: Of course. I’ve done it before in 16s, 17s and stuff like that. Defense is defense. No matter where you’re at, what level you’re at, it’s all about effort, and I pride myself on it.
In the off season, you hope for players to improve on what they’re already good at and add a little something to their games. For Brown (and Tatum), aggression seems to be a common theme with their workouts and mindset with Team USA. Smart has been dealing with a calf injury for most of Team USA’s training camp, but he’s back and ready to make his mark on D. And obviously, the big story coming out of the national team has been Boston’s foursome and their developing chemistry with each other.
Team USA will take on Team Australia later in the week and that means a Celtics reunion with Smart, Brown, Tatum, and now Phoenix Suns’ Aron Baynes. Here’s Tatum on Australia and All of Australia:
"I played with @aronbaynes for two years with the @celtics and he is one of my favorite guys to play with, favorite people. So, I'm excited to play against him for a change." - @jaytatum0 #USABMNT pic.twitter.com/hrJAGn46i6— NBA Australia (@NBA_AU) August 20, 2019
You can watch the exhibition game on NBA TV on Thursday morning at 5:30 am EST.