On Saturday morning, Team USA announced the final roster that would participate in the FIBA 2019 World Cup. The organization took 13 players to Australia knowing that they would have to cut one to finalize the 12-man roster.
Indiana Pacers center Myles Turner was one of the 13 players competing for a spot on the team. He had started the two exhibition games that Team USA had played in Australia, so it didn’t seem as if his spot on the team was at risk. But with the cutting of Kyle Kuzma taking place on Saturday morning, it became official. Myles Turner made the roster.
Turner has shown off some real skill with the team. In Team USA’s 102-86 win over Australia on Thursday, the Pacers big man finished with 15 points (second highest figure on the team) and 14 rebounds (team-high). Box score stats are nice, but its the specific things he is doing that are encouraging.
In the NBA, Turner pops behind the three-point line frequently after setting screens. But in the FIBA environment, Turner has been rolling to the rim. Gregg Popovich has all the big-men playing in a way that lets Turner show off a different skillset.
He also has shown off some improved passing and decision making:
That is one of the pros of being on Team USA. Turner gets to play under some of the best coaching in the world and alongside some of the best basketball players on the planet. He is able to improve as a roll man and rebounder, and being around other stars allows him to see how things are done at the highest level. The experience is good for Turner from a skill growth standpoint.
Turner has show his appreciation for the opportunity. “The fact that we were chosen to come here and represent the USA means a lot.” he said early on in the training process. A few days later, he shared a similar sentiment. “It’s a rite of passage to be able to come up from high school to the select to the national and the Olympic group,” Turner said.
As the team continues into the actual World Cup event, all indications are that Turner will be the starting center. He started the squads two exhibition games versus Australia and played more minutes than fellow Team USA centers Brook Lopez and Mason Plumlee. There is no reason to believe that shouldn’t continue, especially because Turner has played well and Team USA has outscored Australia in both games with the Pacers big man on the floor.
Team USA opens FIBA World Cup play on Sunday, September 1 against Czech Republic. With an official roster set and Myles Turner anchoring the starting unit on the inside, the team is capable of winning the event.