Thanks to Paul George’s devastating leg injury and Kevin Durant’s sudden change of heart (not to mention a lack of participation from guys like Kevin Love, Russell Westbrook and LaMarcus Aldridge) picking 12 guys to represent Team USA at the FIBA World Cup has become more difficult than anticipated.
As USA Basketball heads into its final 10 days of tune-ups and tweaks before the tournament tips off on Aug. 30, the team will have to cut four of the remaining 16 players still on the roster. According to Marc Stein, Coach K and company have already decided on a “core” of six guys and may take until Aug. 29, the day rosters must be finalized, to choose the other six (emphasis ours):
Colangelo told ESPN.com that one scenario under consideration by USA Basketball officials is reducing the current 16-man roster to 12 or 13 players after Wednesday night’s exhibition game against the Dominican Republic at Madison Square Garden…
USAB must submit its official 12-man roster for the World Cup on Aug. 29 — one day before the tournament starts — but Colangelo said there remains “a possibility we could carry 13 to Spain” and then make one last cut in the final week before the tournament begins.
That seems like it would be a rough deal for Mr. Number 13. Work your ass off to make the team, survive the second round of cuts, fly to Spain, get ready to put on the red, white and blue in a game that matters… and then get cut. What would this guy do after that? Catch a flight home? Hang out in Madrid? Buy a Eurorail pass and see the continent?
Anyway, that core core is as follows: Anthony Davis, Derrick Rose, James Harden, Kenneth Faried, Steph Curry and Kyrie Irving.
The three big men competing for the guaranteed backup center spot: DeMarcus Cousins, Mason Plumlee and Andre Drummond.
And the seven guards/swingman fighting for five, or perhaps four spots: Damian Lillard, DeMar DeRozan, Klay Thompson, Rudy Gay, Chandler Parsons, Gordon Hayward and Kyle Korver.
If we had to guess, here’s what the 12-man roster will looks like:
Starting five: Rose, Curry, Harden, Faried and Davis
Backup guards/swingmen: Irving, Lillard, Thompson, Parsons, Korver
Backup big guys: Plumlee, Cousins
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