In the wee hours of the night, Team USA has revealed the final 12-man roster for the 2014 FIBA World Cup
Named as members of the official 2014 USA Basketball World Cup Team were: DeMarcus Cousins (Sacramento Kings); Stephen Curry (Golden State Warriors); Anthony Davis (New Orleans Pelicans); DeMar DeRozan (Toronto Raptors); Andre Drummond (Detroit Pistons); Kenneth Faried (Denver Nuggets); Rudy Gay (Sacramento Kings); James Harden (Houston Rockets); Kyrie Irving (Cleveland Cavaliers); Mason Plumlee (Brooklyn Nets); Derrick Rose (Chicago Bulls); and Klay Thompson (Golden State Warriors).
As a byproduct of selecting the final roster, Team USA was forced to cut four players, those four being Damian Lillard of Portland, Kyle Korver of Atlanta, Chandler Parsons of Dallas, and Gordon Hayward of Utah.
Prior to the release of the roster, all eyes were on the frontcourt. Since Team USA practice began, we had heard numerous accounts of how Cousins, Drummond, and Plumlee were battling it out for a roster spot. On some accounts, Plumlee looked to get the head nod. On others, it looked like Cousins would be the lead big behind Anthony Davis.
Once Kevin Durant withdrew, Coach K was boxed into a corner, ultimately taking all five bigs (Faried, Davis, Plumlee, Drummond, Cousins) and for good reason. Whether they like to admit it or not, Spain is on their mind. With a three-man big rotation of Serge Ibaka, Pau Gasol, and Marc Gasol, all top-tier NBA players, Team USA wanted to make sure they were prepared to face off against this group. With all five, they’ve depth in case of foul trouble and numerous options to throw at a talented bunch. It’s all they have, but it’s a good strategy from Coach K.
In regards to the wings, these cuts were expected. Damian Lillard fell victim to skill redundancy with Stephen Curry, the starting shooting guard, and Kyrie Irving, the lead guard off the bench. With James Harden starting at small forward, this left the coaching staff with three remaining spots and six able bodies. In the exhibition games, Klay Thompson played the role of backup small forward, making him a lock for the roster. Rudy Gay’s ability to score and play both forward positions forced him into a roster spot. This left Coach K with Korver, Parsons, Hayward, and Derozan, ultimately choosing Derozan, the best defender and shot creator out of the group.
While Derozan is a more talented player, selecting Korver would’ve made more sense. With Harden, Gay, Thompson, Curry, Irving, and Rose, the wing rotation is pretty much filled, leaving Derozan as the odd-man out in case of foul trouble. If he’s to receive limited minutes, why not keep a specialist for specific opportunities, more specifically Kyle Korver. Not only is Korver the best shooting wing in the NBA, but his ability to create havoc in the half court without the ball would’ve been huge for a team that’ll likely struggle in the half court.
Expected Starting Lineup
G – Derrick Rose (CHI)
G – Stephen Curry (GSW)
F – James Harden (HOU)
F – Kenneth Faried (DEN)
C – Anthony Davis (NOP)
For Team USA, the 2014 FIBA World Cup begins on August 30th in a matchup against Finland.