Team USA completed their 17-hour flight to Australia over the weekend as they continued preparations for the FIBA World Cup in China next month. They were back at practice on Monday and were joined by Marcus Smart on the floor for the first time in two weeks. The Celtics guard had been limited by a sore calf for the first two weeks of camp but was given the all-clear by team doctors after Friday's scrimmage. He wasted no time showing off some of his shooting prowess during the session.
Smart's spot on the 12-man final roster looks safe upon his return after De'Aaron Fox pulled out of the competition over the weekend. One more cut will need to be made by Greg Popovich ahead of the start of the tournament in two weeks. In the meantime, Team USA will get a pair of tuneups against Australia this week, along with a matchup against Canada before the real games begin in China.
Jayson Tatum is eager to face off with Australia this week and reunite with former teammate Aron Baynes.
"I played with Aron Baynes 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," Tatum said.
"We know how good these guys are, how tough they are," Kemba Walker added. "They still have great players. We know Patty (Mills), (Matthew) Dellavedova, (Aron) Baynes – great players. These guys have been playing with each other for years as well. We expect a great game, a great challenge. We’re looking forward to it."
A few other highlights from the media and practice session: