LAS VEGAS – With Team USA selecting 19 players for the FIBA Basketball World Cup, competition to be on the final roster is intense—especially at the guard position.
Team USA will be led by Derrick Rose and Kevin Durant, who formed a successful combination at the last World Championship of Basketball, where Durant was named tournament MVP.
Team USA often looks at the World Cup as a chance for development, while they view the Olympics as the pinnacle of international hoops.
This is why LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul have been given dispensations not to participate at this year’s Basketball World Cup, so that they can be fresh when the next Olympic games rolls around.
The biggest strength of this squad chosen to try out is at point guard.
Along with Rose, other high-profile guards such as Stephen Curry, Damian Lillard, Kyrie Irving and John Wall were also selected to try out, and are considered the franchise player’s of their teams.
It looks like Team USA will go with three point guards, with Rose already slotted into start, there are two other places for the remaining four guards vying for a spot. Depending on how well the shooting guard’s tryout goes, Curry could easily slot in at the shooting guard position, opening chances for the remaining point guards.
Clearly, Irving is the obvious front-runner for back-up point guard, having a mentor-mentee relationship with current USA Men’s Basketball Head Coach, Mike Krzyzewski, who coached him in Duke. The point guard least likely to make the team is John Wall, as his skill set is seen to be too similar to Rose.
The other position for Team USA where they have real depth at small forward.
The captain and best player of this team in Durant, plays the small forward position, and the other player vying for a spot on the Team USA roster is Paul George, who had an All-NBA Season, in leading the Indiana Pacers to the Eastern Conference Finals.
The biggest weakness that Team USA has is up front. With Kevin Love and Blake Griffin both pulling out, LaMarcus Aldridge didn’t accept an invitation, which is rather strange.
With these players unavailable Team USA has turned to youth with Anthony Davis, Andre Drummond, DeMarcus Cousins and Kenneth Faried. Although these players are all talented, they have very limited International experience, and may struggle with the different rules and interpretations of international basketball.
Overall, Team USA has selected the best players available. The only question left remaining for this team is the youth of their front court and who will emerge to start a promising back court.