USA Basketball finalized its roster today, and when all the pieces were cut, former Duke Blue Devils Kyrie Irving and Mason Plumlee were both left. This move had been foreshadowed in the last few days as Coach Mike Krzyzewski and Jerry Colangelo had both made comments that suggested this might happen.
Both referred to Irving as part of the team’s core, which suggested he was sticking around. Krzyzewski also mentioned needing ‘five or six posts’ which was humorous, since even with Plumlee he might have four. The posts comment did give the Team USA coach some cover in taking Plumlee, since that move probably does not make much sense to anyone who is not Coach K.
A brief correction here: earlier I said that Chris Paul would lead this team. Paul pulled out of playing for Team USA earlier this summer, so he was never really part of the conversation. Don’t fret when his name does not appear below:
PG: Stephen Curry, Derrick Rose, Kyrie Irving
SG: Klay Thompson, DeMar DeRozan, James Harden
SF: Rudy Gay
PF: Kenneth Faried
C: Anthony Davis, DeMarcus Cousins, Andre Drummond, Mason Plumlee
If you were curious, the cuts were Damian Lillard, Chandler Parsons, Gordon Hayward, and Kyle Korver. That is a lot of shooting, but I don’t think the team will miss it. I almost wonder if Parsons being cut was somehow influenced by Dallas owner Mark Cuban, who does not approve of NBA players playing in these games.
Don’t read too much into the listed positions. The team will be using hybrid lineups all the time. Thompson and DeRozan will see time at the three. Gay and Plumlee will see time at the four. Curry will play off of the ball a fair bit.
Team USA charges into action next week in Spain. Their primary competition will probably be the home team. Team Spain has both Pau and Marc Gasol, or their version of the twin towers. Other recognizable faces are Ricky Rubio, Serge Ibaka, and Jose Calderon.
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