With the NBA season over, the summer FIBA invites are starting to take place, and while it’s already been announced that James Harden is expected to play, we found out today that two more Rockets will have a shot at making the squad as well.
First, Eric Gordon is on the list of training camp invitees floated by Woj today.
ESPN Sources: Among additional players expected to join USA Basketball’s training camp in August on way to a roster spot in September’s FIBA World Cup in China: Bradley Beal, Eric Gordon, Kyle Kuzma, Damian Lillard, Brook Lopez, Kevin Love, CJ McCollum and Jayson Tatum.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 5, 2019
Gordon is coming off of a fine season in which he averaged 16.2 points per game, and he upped his play even further in the postseason, finishing as the Rockets’ second-leading playoff scorer at 17.8 points per game.
Additionally, Houston forward P.J. Tucker was also invited in a quest for the squad to add toughness, according to Woj and Tim McMahon.
PJ Tucker will participate in Team USA’s training camp, he told ESPN. https://t.co/0NQU4Zebma— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) June 5, 2019
Tucker is coming off of perhaps his finest season as a professional in which he finished just one vote shy of an NBA All-Defensive Team selection, and he also was one of Houston’s best players in the postseason, making all of the hustle plays that don’t always show in the box score.
So that makes three Rockets total out of the 18 players invited to training camp. Those 18 will eventually be trimmed down to a 12-man official FIBA roster by head coach Gregg Popovich during a 4-day camp from August 5-8, and the team will compete in the FIBA World Cup in China from August 21-September 15.
I’d consider Harden a near-lock and Gordon and Tucker long shots, though if the team is really after someone “tough-minded” like they say, Tucker just might have an outside shot at it. How cool would that be?
You can find the full 18-player roster here.