Why Kings' De'Aaron Fox Has Chance to Impress at USA Basketball Camp

So you're sayin' there's a chance.

An invite to USA Basketball's Select squad rarely comes with an opportunity like it does this summer. With big name players pulling out of the 2019 FIBA World Cup, there are roster spots up for grabs on Team USA.

Kings guard De'Aaron Fox might be a prime candidate to take one.

Team USA is scheduled to open tournament play against the Czech Republic on Sept. 1 in China, and 15 players will be on the training roster ahead of the tournament. The Select Team, which includes Fox and Kings teammate Marvin Bagley, will train alongside the tournament hopefuls.  

Boston Celtics free-agent signing Kemba Walker is set to be the only healthy point guard on Team USA's training roster when camp opens Aug. 5 in Las Vegas, although Toronto Raptors star Kyle Lowry remains hopeful that he can recover from offseason thumb surgery in time to suit up.

Walker and Lowry are the only two point guards on the training roster, and Donovan Mitchell was the only other guard after a long list of players, including Russell Westbrook, James Harden, C.J. McCollum, Damian Lillard, Eric Gordon and DeMar DeRozan, withdrew from the competition.

Celtics guard Marcus Smart was a late add to the training roster, but like many of the other invites, he isn't necessarily guaranteed a spot on the traveling team for the tournament.

There is a chance that head coach Gregg Popovich is going to need a point guard or two to fill out the roster and, as a member of the Select Team, Fox is in the hunt for one.

Coming off a breakout season with the Kings, 21-year-old Fox averaged 17.3 points and 7.3 assists per game in his second NBA season. He was a finalist for the Most Improved Player award, and he led Sacramento to its best record since the 2005-06 season.

A true point guard, Fox joins Trae Young (Atlanta Hawks), Jalen Brunson (Dallas Mavericks), Pat Connaughton (Milwaukee Bucks) and Derrick White (San Antonio Spurs) in the Select Team's backcourt.

One of the better two-way players of the group, Fox has a golden opportunity to show Popovich and his staff that he is worthy of a call up to the main club.

This isn't the first run for Fox with the national program. He was a member of the 2015-16 junior national team that played at the Nike Hoop Summit. Current Kings players Harry Giles and Wenyen Gabriel played with Fox at the time.

Bagley has an outside shot at making the team as well, but there is an uphill climb for the talented 20-year-old. The current roster has plenty of bigs, including Brook Lopez (Bucks), Myles Turner (Indiana Pacers), Thaddeus Young (Chicago Bulls), Miles Plumlee (Memphis Grizzlies), Bam Adebayo (Miami Heat) and Kyle Kuzma (Los Angeles Lakers).

While Bagley has tremendous upside, the group ahead of him has both NBA and international experience. He's an underdog to make the big squad, but the experience of playing in the camp against some of the game's best is invaluable for his development.

Fox and Bagley's Kings teammate Harrison Barnes is on the training roster, but he isn't guaranteed a spot either. Barnes, however, has plenty of familiarity with the Team USA program, and his willingness to stick in the program this summer while so many others opted out speaks volumes. He joined the junior national team in 2010 and has remained with the program since, winning a gold medal in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

[RELATED: Kings stars Fox, Bagley on NBA 'Best 23 under 23' ranking]

Fox, Bagley and Barnes have five days to convince Popovich that they are ready for the bright lights of international play. Camp breaks on Aug. 9, and those left standing will get an invite to a second part of training the following week in Los Angeles as the team prepares for the World Cup.

It's a great opportunity for the three to create deeper bonds and perhaps earn a trip to China to represent their country.

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