NBA Rumors: Donovan Mitchell, De'Aaron Fox the 'Standouts' at Team USA Camp

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistAugust 7, 2019

Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell, left, and Sacramento Kings guard De'Aaron Fox talk after the Jazz defeated the Kings 123-117 in an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2018, in Sacramento, Calif.(AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
Rich Pedroncelli/Associated Press

In the wake of several top stars removing themselves from consideration, a pair of young guards are reportedly shining brightest at Team USA training camp ahead of the FIBA World Cup.

According to Tony Jones of The Athletic, Donovan Mitchell of the Utah Jazz and De'Aaron Fox of the Sacramento Kings have been called the "standouts" by sources close to Team USA through two days of camp.

Jones specifically noted that "nobody has consistently been able to stay in front of Fox."

With guards such as James Harden of the Houston Rockets, Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum of the Portland Trail Blazers and Bradley Beal of the Washington Wizards dropping out of the tournament, which starts August 31, Mitchell and Fox figure to be key players for the Americans.

After finishing second in the 2017-18 NBA Rookie of the Year voting, the No. 13 overall pick out of Louisville made strides last season. The 22-year-old averaged career highs across the board with 23.8 points, 4.2 assists and 4.1 rebounds per game while shooting 43.2 percent from the field and 36.2 percent from deep.

With point guard Mike Conley joining Mitchell and center Rudy Gobert in Utah, the Jazz could be a real factor in the Western Conference next season.

The Kings are another team seemingly on the rise in the West, and Fox's development has been a big reason for that.

As a rookie in 2017-18, the No. 5 overall pick out of Kentucky largely struggled, averaging just 11.6 points and 4.4 assists per game while shooting only 41.2 percent from the floor. Last season, the 21-year-old was one of the NBA's most improved players with 17.3 points, 7.3 assists, 3.8 rebounds and 1.6 steals per contest. He also shot 45.8 percent from the field and 37.1 percent from beyond the arc.

Boston Celtics guard Kemba Walker will likely be the go-to guy and premier scorer for Team USA, but Mitchell also appears to be in line to start, and Fox should see big minutes as well along with veteran point guard Kyle Lowry.

Team USA is not viewed as a lock to win its third consecutive World Cup due to the sheer amount of talent it has lost in recent weeks, but if young players like Mitchell and Fox perform at a high level, the Americans still have to be considered the favorites in China.