It’s not all about horrific injuries at the Team USA camp for the Basketball World Cup camp. Three players – John Wall and Bradley Beal of the Washington Wizards, Paul Millsap of the Atlanta Hawks, have been cut from the roster as Jerry Colangelo and coach Mike Krzyzewski trimmed down the roster to 16 players, which will eventually be reduced to the final 12 who will be going to compete in Spain.
Paul George breaking his ankle is still taking up all the news and headline space for this international competition preparation, and yet there’s a tournament to get ready for. Maybe some people with an angle and an interest are trying to push the players to bow out of the run, but everyone remaining in the expanded roster has agreed to see this through while showing their support for the injured George.
So who is left? There seem to be five guys who are in 100%. Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry, Anthony Davis, James Harden and Derrick Rose. So who still has to fight for his place? Kyrie Irving, Damian Lillard, Kyle Korver, DeMar DeRozan, Klay Thompson, Chandler Parsons, Kenneth Faried, Gordon Hayward, DeMarcus Cousins, Andre Drummond and Mason Plumlee. Seven of them will end up playing.
There is the Duke angle here to visit, and it might be taken seriously. John Wall chose Kentucky over Duke back in the day and some think Coach K still harbors some ill feeling towards him for that. And the fact that Mason Plumlee, a former Duke player, remains on the roster while Paul Millsap gets cut raises more than one eyebrow, although obviously there might be some things we don’t know about.
Derrick Rose should have been scared off by the Paul George injury, and the Chicago Bulls more than anyone. Yet this is an excellent opportunity for him to shake off some rust in competition that’s better than preseason basketball or training camp. What happened to Paul George was a freak injury which can happen anywhere, anytime, to anyone. It doesn’t have to be a Team USA game in Las Vegas.