Jalen Rose, who played 13 seasons in the NBA, recently discussed the horrific injury suffered by Paul George of the Indiana Pacers during a recent Team USA scrimmage leading up to the World Cup.
Rose, who played six seasons with the Indiana Pacers and is close to George, recently explained on his Grantland podcast that despite the risk, players are still better off playing for Team USA.
The basic argument is that the players would be playing anyway and that the Team USA environment is far better than the alternatives:
“Paul George playing against Kevin Durant [and] Derrick Rose everyday is a lot better than him working out in a gym alone. It is a lot better than him playing 5-on-5 in any league across the country, that’s a pro league … [It’s] better competition. You’re playing against the best players in the world. You’re pushing yourself every drill. You’re pushing yourself every play. There are no moments off. And also, you are being a sponge. You’re learning from the best players in the world. So, there’s no better infrastructure than the one [Team USA] has. We’re talking about medical. We’re talking about coaching, playing, support of the fans. Every player in the NBA wants that stage.”
Rose explains that the only players that don’t want to play for Team USA are either free agents (or about to be traded), have an injury, or have “been there, done that.”
Rose was later asked how he would react if he was a general manager and a couple of his players were chosen for Team USA.
Rose emphasised that people should be careful not to overreact to what was the first serious injury suffered by an NBA player in 22 years of pro players participating with Team USA. However, he still thinks there are changes the NBA needs to make, and not just to the Team USA.
“I have a basic change,” said Rose. “The players are bigger. The players are stronger. The players are faster. LeBron James in today’s game is the same size as Karl Malone … The stanchion (the support for the basket and backboard) used to be, and still is, four feet from the baseline. How about move that back [to] six feet? There is no reason not to.”
In other words, sacrifice some seats and what David Jacoby described on the podcast as “a little bit of money” in the name of safety.
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