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Davis drains threes at Team USA West Point Practice

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We could be this much closer to seeing Anthony Davis become a basketball god.

Zebulun Benbrook

I was fortunate enough to be able to attend Team USA's open practice at West Point today. It wasn't televised, but was attended by thousands of cadets, soldiers, and families. Here's what I was able to glean....

  • Aside from the pagentry resulting from the collaboration of military and sport, the story of the day had to be Anthony Davis. During the practice, Team USA was split into two squads and mixed with the Army's men's and women's college basketball teams. Both mixed teams took turns shooting around 20-30 threes per player, in the process of trying to nail as many shots as possible in as little time as possible. One side of the floor had DeMarcus Cousins, Kenneth Faried, Andre Drummond, and Anthony Davis hurling triples. I watched it with eager interest.
  • Anthony Davis hit his shots at a similar clip to Klay Thompson, Steph Curry, and James Harden. (All over 50%.) His form was practiced, his arc was high, and his shot was accurate. We can't be too far away from seeing it in game.
  • For comparison, Cousins, Faried, and Drummond hit their attempts at a considerably lower clip. Cousins was noticeably frustrated at his lack of success, and continued to take a plethora of threes after the game ended. Just eyeballing it, he shot around 30%, but he did have an ice bag on his knee during the latter half of his attempts.
  • Derrick Rose sat out the practice. His given reason? "I just wanted to get rest. Everything feels fine, I just wanted to get a little bit of rest."
  • Aside from the three point contest, Team USA and the Army squad also participated in a game of knockout. I wasn't able to witness the whole thing, but I did gather a few tidbits. Chandler Parsons won and an army team player somehow became runner-up. Furthermore, during the game, Kyle Korver was knocked out by an Army team player (to huge applause), and Steph Curry was able to collect two knockouts.
  • Steph Curry, on whether practicing a game pressure situation (like knockout) is more or less beneficial than a set drill: "Oh, way more benefit. That's how I end all my workouts. Some kind of competition, whether it's against myself or somebody else on the workout group or with the team. So, you've gotta push yourself to handle that kind of pressure. That simulates it for sure. You gotta bear down and you've gotta make a shot or something bad's gonna happen."
  • Coach K, true to his craft, refuses to look to a future matchup with Spain. Right now, he says, he's concerned about the Dominican Republic.
  • There was a short scrimmage towards the beginning. Neither team was playing very hard on defense, but I'm fairly sure the point of the scrimmage was to emphasize finding the open man and outlet passing down the floor. The players were making much more frequent and measured dishes, and they had no trouble finding the open man on most offensive possessions. I'd say that's more promising than anything. There probably isn't another team that can space the floor well enough to give Team USA serious problems for trapping too often. So, as long as Team USA's offense flows, they win.
  • All of the Team USA players were eager to please the soldiers and their families. They joked around with the army players during timeouts, and they threw down impromptu dunks during stoppages in play. Many stayed behind to take pictures and sign autographs.
  • You could tell that this game brought the team closer together. The atmosphere was definitely a lot lighter than it was after the practice in Chicago on Friday, which was said to be one of the most intense in Coach K's Team USA history.
  • While I was lost and trying to find the arena, I ran across a gentleman who's worked at West Point for 12 years. He said that the biggest event ever to come there before Team USA's practice was the national volleyball team six years ago. In other words, this was pretty big for them.
  • If you want to find out about all of the stuff that Team USA got to do at West Point that day, be sure to check out their website.
  • We'll be at Team USA's practice tomorrow, so stay tuned to the site and @WTLC for more updates.