Following a 112-86 win over Puerto Rico, Team USA cut Gordon Hayward, Damian Lillard, Kyle Korver and Chandler to make it a 12-man roster that’s heading off to play for the Basketball World Championship in Spain, which means the team will consist of Derrick Rose, Stephen Curry, James Harden, Anthony Davis, Kenneth Faried, Klay Thompson, Kyrie Irving, DeMarcus Cousins, Rudy Gay, Mason Plumlee, DeMar DeRozan and Andre Drummond.
It seems that the last two names on this list, DeRozan and Drummond, who both didn’t play in the win over Puerto Rico, came as something of a surprise. However, Jerry Colangelo and Mike Krzyzewski wanted to take at least five legitimate “bigs” to the tournament in Spain, with the team supposedly playing nine games in the span of 16 days. Rudy Gay can have no problem playing as a ‘4’ in international basketball.
Chandler Parsons might be the most disappointed of players, as many thought he’d make the team after Kevin Durant withdrew and Paul George was injured. Damian Lillard might be one of the more talented players in the league, but with Irving, Curry and Rose already on the roster, he didn’t bring anything extra to the team. The same goes for Hayward and Korver, as the likes of Thompson, Curry, Irving and Harden make shooting something that shouldn’t be a problem.
Rose was the player which had all the eyes fixed on before the game, but he came off the bench to play more of a fascilitator role, finishing with six points and four assists, with some of them included in the highlight reel as you might expect from even the shortest cameos from Rose. Stephen Curry and Kyrie Irving started in the backcourt, and Curry was red hot from beyond the arc with 4-of-5, finishing with a team-high 20 points, followed by James Harden and Rudy Gay with 13 points.
The Sacramento Kings, to everyone’s surprise, have two players in the final roster. One of the worst teams in the NBA for quite some time, but Cousins just might be the best center in the league and Rudy Gay, while being an overpaid, one-sided player, is still an excellent offensive small forward despite all of his other shortcomings, which didn’t seem to have any effect on his selection despite arriving only midway through the process.
The projected lineup will probably be Rose-Curry-Harden-Davis-Faried, but with Rose being carefully watched and monitored, he’ll probably have some games in which he’ll start on the bench, with Irving and Curry showing good chemistry in their moments together. Maybe that’s the most important word as the tournament looms closer, with so many changed made to the initial planned squad over the last month or so, and might be the most important factor in deciding whether they come home with a gold medal or a huge disappointment to carry around.