The 2014 FIBA World Basketball Championship kicks off on the 30th August and will display the talents of basketball players all over the globe in Spain. The United States team is in a far different place than its soccer counterpart. While our Mens Soccer National Team regularly plays the underdog to good squads, our Mens Basketball team is a juggernaut that is normally expected to win these international competitions.
With that in mind, Coach Mike Krzyzewski has narrowed the pool of national team invitees down to 19 for training camp in Las Vegas. That number will be narrowed to a twelve man roster in time for the actual tournament to begin.
While the TEAM USA roster is here, there are three players with North Carolina ties that are on the nineteen man roster. Rather strangely they all play point guard. They are Chris Paul of the Los Angeles Clippers, Kyrie Irving of the Cleveland Cavaliers, and Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors.
Career Avg: 20 pts, 7 ast, 4 reb, 1.6 stl
Curry is best known for his sweet shot and that is something Team USA has valued in the international game. There have always been enough monster athletes and dunkers, but sometimes there have not been enough shooters. This singular skill probably makes a Curry a lock for the twelve man roster. He can also play the point at times, particularly with LeBron on the roster, and shift to the two guard for smaller more shooter oriented lineups.
Career Avg: 20 pts, 6 ast, 4 reb, 1.5 stl
The captain of Team Coco could be an odd man out after Vegas. There are just too many guards and there is nothing Irving does that would place him on the must have list. One of his concerns is defense, which will be highly necessary to match international schemes. Being in Las Vegas will be a good thing for Irving though. This allows him to play with LeBron and develop a working relationship with the King.
College: Wake Forest
Career Avg: 18 pts, 10 ast, 4 reb, 2.4 stl
Paul’s spot on the team is guaranteed. He will be one of the engines that drive Team USA’s offense and his bulldog mentality could will the team if it runs into tough spots. There is no one better at the art of picking up cheap steals. Paul is also a player who creates for those around him, which is a benefit on a team like this where a lot of guys are the lead scorers for their pro teams. Expect to see Paul in the starting five if healthy.