LAS VEGAS -- A few minutes after the start of Team USA's minicamp Thursday,
"Defense is why the U.S. was effective in the Olympics," said Triano, the Raptors' coach. "Defense is the great equalizer. They got in [opponents] faces and were aggressive."
The players quickly took Triano's words to heart. Moments after the break in the action,
"The intensity today was great," Triano said after practice. "Coach [
Indeed, if anything can be gleaned from the first day of camp, it's that USA Basketball officials are looking for two things from the players: intensity and a willingness to defend on every possession. That's why a player like Harris was a Day 1 standout. Harris was considered one of the top defensive point guards in the Western Conference before he was traded from Dallas to New Jersey, where his defense suffered last season as he took on a heavier offensive burden. He's also a tireless worker who on Thursday showcased his burgeoning leadership skills. When a play broke down on Harris' scrimmage team, he was quick to approach the offending player and explain where the play went wrong.
Versatility is also a valued commodity. "What we have learned in the international game is that versatility adds a lot," Krzyzewski said. "Especially at the 'three' and 'four.' So many 'fours' are perimeter players so it's great if you have a guy who can play both [forward spots]."
"It's great to have a pool of players that we are familiar with and know what they can do," Krzyzewski said. "We want to start building relationships with these guys not just for 2010 or 2012 but for 2014, 2016 and beyond."
• Knicks forward
"It's frustrating," Lee said. "There is definitely an effort on their part to spend as little money as possible. I don't think we're asking for anything out of the ordinary."
Lee, who averaged 16 points and 11.7 rebounds last season, said New York remains his first choice. But he is growing more and more uncertain that a return will be possible.
"[Free agency] hasn't soured me [on New York]," Lee said. "It's nothing personal. We want to get the best deal done possible. Maybe it will end up that it's not in New York. At the start of this free agent season I would have said, 'Man I can't wait to get this deal done with New York -- it should be something we can get done.' Now it's looking like we have to look at other options."
• Grizzlies shooting guard
"I got there in mid-May and haven't stopped," Mayo said.
Mayo also took some time in early July to work on strength and conditioning with trainer
"Being able to pick their brains was a blessing to me," Mayo said.