Jones Passed Up for World Championships
Eddie Jones remained a candidate to the end, but his hopes of being added to the U.S. roster for the world championships this summer in Greece reportedly ended Friday, when the selection committee for USA Basketball picked San Antonio’s Tim Duncan and Orlando’s Tim Hardaway for the final two spots.
The choice of Duncan had been a foregone conclusion, what with his tremendous rookie season and the obvious need for a big man after Shaquille O’Neal declined an invitation. But the choice of Hardaway, while hardly a surprise, came after one source had called Jones’ chances “very strong” in the days leading up to the vote.
Making the team--which will include Laker Coach Del Harris as an assistant under Houston’s Rudy Tomjanovich--had been a goal for Jones since the start of the season. But Friday night, the Associated Press confirmed the choice of Duncan and Hardaway.
“I want to be one of those guys who say, ‘Hey, I got a gold medal. I got this. I’ve done this,’ ” Jones said during training camp. “Just to be there, in the glory for the USA.”
The opportunity might not be completely lost, though. An injury to Terrell Brandon of the Milwaukee Bucks could force the committee to make still another addition.
Kobe Bryant, meanwhile, had emerged as a possibility around midseason, but faded from any serious consideration by the time the vote was taken at an NBA pre-draft camp in Phoenix.
“His play hasn’t been good since the All-Star game,” one committee member said earlier this week. “I don’t think it would be the proper thing to do at this time anyway.
“The playing environment will be very tough, so experience really helps. He’s going to be a great, great talent, no doubt about it. But not right now. He still has a ways to go.”
Site--Oakland Coliseum Arena.
Records--Lakers 56-21, Warriors 16-61.
Record vs. Warriors--2-1.
Update--The Lakers begin their final trip of the regular season with the second night of a back-to-back.