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There's "No Question" Nate McMillan Wishes LaMarcus Aldridge Was On Team USA


This afternoon, Portland Trail Blazers head coach Nate McMillan introduced his new assistant coaches at a press conference (more on the three additions soon).  McMillan is enjoying an off week from his Team USA assistant coaching responsibilities, as he spent last week helping head coach Mike Krzyzewski prepare for this summer's World Championships in Turkey.

"We're going to be a totally different team than the [2008] gold medal team," McMillan said today. "We're going to have to certainly make some adjustments because we're going to be really small. But we have to take advantage of the speed that we have and I think it's going to be an exciting time."

One reason Team USA is going to be so small is because Blazers power forward LaMarcus Aldridge -- who could have potentially started at center this summer -- decided to withdraw from the team to rest his body.  

Asked if he wished Aldridge had decided to stick with the team this summer, McMillan didn't hesitate. "Oh yeah. No question. There are opportunities there for him and I certainly think that experience is good for players. I remember that team -- the gold medal team in 2008 -- if you go back and do some research on that team, just about all of those guys had great years when they came off of that team and went into the NBA season. The experience to play with the best in the world, to represent your country, to play against the best players in the world, it definitely helps you."

McMillan said Aldridge's late decision to withdraw hadn't come as a surprise. "I talked to LaMarcus a few times about participating and he thought about it, but he had some commitments that were already in place which wouldn't allow him to play."

As for Aldridge's future with Team USA, McMillan said Aldridge "is in the program" but a gold medal in Turkey this summer could push the next decision further into the future.  "Hopefully next summer we take the summer off and we'll get ready for 2012. If we go and take care of business this summer then we don't have to do anything next summer and we'll just get ready for [the Olympics in] 2012."  

-- Ben Golliver | | Twitter