Wizards teammates Bradley Beal and John Wall are among the 19 players at Team USA’s five-day minicamp in Las Vegas this week competing for a spot on the 12-man FIBA World Cup roster. Beal joined Grant Paulsen and Danny Rouhier on 106.7 The Fan on Tuesday to chat about the experience thus far and his chances of making the squad, which begins play in Spain on August 30.
“Just me being a part of this whole experience in itself is a blessing and an honor,” Beal said. “All these guys are great. That’s what’s so good about this. Everybody’s great. For me to be able to compete against them, it makes me better, it makes me a better player. … This is the only opportunity, besides the All-Star Game, where we get to play with some guys from another team. So on top of that, you just get to know everybody’s strengths and weaknesses, and when you play them, you kind of keep it in the back of your mind for when you play them during the regular season.”
Beal, who is competing against the likes of DeMar DeRozan, Gordon Hayward and Klay Thompson, said he thinks he has a “pretty good chance” to make the roster.
John Wall, a late addition to the minicamp roster after fellow point guards Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook and Deron Williams elected not to participate, could face somewhat longer odds of making the team than Beal. The other point guards in Las Vegas include Stephen Curry, Kyrie Irving, Damian Lillard and Derrick Rose, who was particularly impressive on Monday.
“My job is to come out here, play basketball the right way, and try to make myself look good,” Wall told Monumental Sports.
Team USA coach Mike Krzyzewski has some difficult decisions to make in terms of how he decides to craft his roster, but Beal said he doesn’t feel any added pressure to do anything out of the ordinary this week.
“They just want you to play like yourself,” Beal said. “Coach K, you know, some people say leave your ego at the door, but he always says don’t leave your ego at the door. Just come out and show who you are, play the way you play on your team and they’re going to evaluate us from there. They don’t want us to do anything we’re not supposed to be doing or anything we’re not capable of doing.”
Rouhier asked Beal if he’s done any recruiting for the Wizards while in Vegas.
“No, I haven’t started that just yet,” Beal said. “But I probably will pretty soon. I mean, there’s a lot of great guys here in this camp — a lot of guys who will be free agents in the next couple of years. So I’ll probably definitely get on top of that pretty soon and see what these guys want to do moving forward, see if I can get them to come to D.C. for us.”
One of those guys, of course, is Kevin Durant, who was asked about Beal and Wall on Monday.
“Beal, he’s a tremendous player, I’m a big fan of his,” Durant said. “Just one of those guys who’s going to be a treat to watch for the next 10 or 15 years. He’s a great player and he’s playing for my hometown team. I love him. … I like John, he’s a great player, you know, one of my great friends. I’m glad he’s here.”
Durant was also asked — for probably not the last time between now and when he becomes a free agent in 2016 — whether he would consider a LeBron James-style homecoming.
“I love where I am right now,” Durant said. “I can’t answer that question.”
Which is the best answer.