The roster for the 2014-16 USA Men’s Basketball National Team has been announced. The roster will need to be cut down to 12 players for the 2014 World Cup of Basketball in Spain. Many of the great players who will/could partake in the next Olympics will not be playing, but that doesn’t make the job of picking the USA basketball roster any easier. I’ll attempt to give you my team.
Here is the list of players:
Bradley Beal (Washington Wizards)
DeMarcus Cousins (Sacramento Kings)
Stephen Curry (Golden State Warriors)
Anthony Davis (New Orleans Pelicans)
DeMar DeRozan (Toronto Raptors)
Andre Drummond (Detroit Pistons)
Kevin Durant (Oklahoma City Thunder)
Kenneth Faried (Denver Nuggets)
Paul George (Indiana Pacers)
Blake Griffin (Los Angeles Clippers)
James Harden (Houston Rockets)
Gordon Hayward (Utah Jazz)
Kyrie Irving (Cleveland Cavaliers)
Kyle Korver (Atlanta Hawks)
Damian Lillard (Portland Trail Blazers)
Kevin Love (Minnesota Timberwolves)
Chandler Parsons (Dallas Mavericks)
Derrick Rose (Chicago Bulls)
Klay Thompson (Golden State Warriors)
Assuming everyone on the list wants to actually play, here is what I’d do.
Steph Curry, James Harden, Kevin Durant, Anthony Davis, Kevin Love
I think the front-court is pretty much locked in, but back-court can be debated.
Blake Griffin, Paul George, Klay Thompson, Damian Lillard, Kyrie Irving, Andre Drummond, Gordon Hayward
I feel like the first 5 on the bench are virtual locks to make the team, leaving 2 spots for 9 players. Drummond gives the team another defensive/rebounding weapon in the middle after Anthony Davis, and player who doesn’t need the ball to succeed. The last spot, well, just about anyone would do. I am comfortable with Heyward, Beal, or Parsons for their shooting, ball-handling, and versatility. I don’t think that spot plays much anyway.
Derrick Rose, DeMarcus Cousins, Brad Beal, Chandler Parsons, DeMar DeRozan, Kenneth Faried, Kyle Korver
Rose is obviously tricky to evaluate and I just felt better leaving him off the team with 3 solid point guards already making it. Boogie is just a little too crazy to trust even though he has plenty of talent. Those are the two hardest omissions. Once you’re past that, it’s simply deciding who deserves that last spot on the bench. The team has flexibility to play small and still be big/long, which kills the any chance for Faried. Korver is just far too one-dimensional on a team already stocked with great shooting. DeRozan is a nice player, but his lack of an outside shot and inability to create for others hurts his cause.