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Gregg Popovich's faith in Team Shamrock bodes well for Celtics season

Team USA Coach Gregg Popovich has made the final cut to the team that will head for China in FIBA World Cup competition. Kyle Kuzma was the final casualty, leaving the team reportedly because of an ankle injury.

So barring any injuries or unexpected occurrences, the Boston Celtics Kemba Walker, Jaylen brown, Marcus Smart and Jayson Tatum, dubbed Team Shamrock, will represent the United States in FIBA competition. Many analysts felt that Marcus Smart would not make the cut due to his calf injury, but he was in action in last night's loss to Australia, scoring seven points in nine minutes, and adding one rebound and three assists. A little rust was evident as his moves appeared somewhat tentative, but his play was solid.

Jaylen Brown's status with USA Basketball seemed in jeopardy after his quiet showing in an intrasquad scrimmage, but he has looked good since, scoring eight points last night on perfect shooting from the field and beyond the arc. His size and versatility will be needed in China. Walker and Tatum have seemed like locks for the final roster from the beginning.

Gregg Popovich doesn't mince the few words that you hear from him, and he certainly is not hesitant to make decisions. The fact that he sees such value in these four guys in green is such a positive sign. With most NBA superstars opting to sit this one out, filling the roster with the best overall players had to be difficult for Pop.



Gregg is one of the most-respected coaches in the league and has been around for a long time. His Spurs teams always seem to be in the fight, even when the roster frankly hasn't seemed all that good. The fact he chose to retain all four Celtics on Team USA is simply a great sign for the upcoming season. And the bonus is that newly-acquired Kemba Walker gets that chance to take the floor against some solid competition with his three Celtics teammates. Add Gordon Hayward to Pop's four Celts on Team USA, and you have the core players in Brad Stevens' schemes. That foursome already has an early start to Boston's training camp.

Follow Tom at @CelticsSentinel and @CausewayStreet

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