Five thoughts about Saturday's Team USA intra-squad showcase in Las Vegas
Kevin Durant looks much more comfortable with the ball in his hands. He showed an increased ability to read and react to coverages and looked relaxed and confident while running pick-and-rolls, often making the right play as the ball-handler. Thunder coach Scott Brooks wants to put the ball in Durant's hands in similar positions with the Thunder this season. And with a lights-out shooter who stands 6-foot-11 orchestrating the offense from the top of the key, the entire team will become much more dangerous.
Durant played power forward for the undersized Team USA squad, and it provided a glimpse into how effective he could soon be in the NBA season in spots at that position. He'll need to get stronger, but being closer to the basket turns him into an all-around threat much like he was at Texas. He rebounds more, gets easy putbacks and can start the fast break if he corrals a board or a loose ball.
Russell Westbrook isn't likely to have the quintessential point guard duties for Team USA if he makes the cut for the FIBA World Championship. Derrick Rose, Chauncey Billups and Rajon Rondo figure to get those responsibilities. Westbroook was used as more of an off-guard but one that still can create for himself and others when the ball is swung his way, while also serving as an alternate or even emergency ball-handler.