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First guess at who makes Team USA for 2014 World Championships

Jul 27, 2013, 12:31 PM EDT

USA Basketball Men's National Team Blue And White Game Getty Images

The FIBA World Cup – the basketball World Championships coming to Spain next summer — don’t play as big in the United States as the Olympics. It can get overlooked… unless Team USA loses, then newspaper columnists who hadn’t given the thing a sideways glance will pontificate on how this is some kind of disaster.

That said the World Championships do matter. First, it’s at the very least the second most important international basketball tournament in the world (some countries would argue it trumps the Olympics, but it doesn’t play that way here). Second, win event in Spain next summer and you are automatically qualified for the Rio Olympics. Come in second or lower and you need to put together a 2015 Team USA good enough to win the qualification tournament to get into the Olympics. And Mike Krzyzewski would like a summer off.

So who makes our 2014 roster?

We know that Kevin Durant and Kevin Love are both in, and we can guess a number of guys from the USA mini-camp just held in Las Vegas make it.

What follows is my guess, based on past play with past national teams and the recent camp.

But this guess starts with some assumptions: LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul, Dwyane Wade, Andre Iguodala and some other elite stars will not play. That could change, but my guess is 2014 is going to be the league’s young stars, with some of those established guys coming back in 2016.

The roster:

Russell Westbrook
Derrick Rose
Kyrie Irving
Stephen Curry
James Harden
Paul George
Kevin Durant
Kawhi Leonard
Kevin Love
Blake Griffin
Anthony Davis
DeMarcus Cousins

If your first thought is “that’s four point guards” you’re right, although I think in international ball I would use Curry as a two guard off the bench who comes in and starts lighting the scoreboard up with shots from three feet behind the arc. At the 2012 Olympics Team USA carried three points and only four bigs, but it’s easier to do that with LeBron and his versatility on the roster (both LeBron and ‘Melo could play the four). I think Kenneth Faried played his way into a bubble spot on this roster if Griffin or someone does not want to go.

I think Durant is going to play some four. I think Leonard takes over as the defensive glue player. Davis showed in the USA scrimmage last week that he’s improved and his shot will be great in the international game. I think Coach K can’t go wrong starting Westbrook or Irving.

The USA Basketball brain trust is going to watch the first half of next season before making any calls — how do Rose and Love come back from injuries, for example? Plus, it is possible guys like Andre Drummond play their way into a spot.

But I think the Team USA Roster will look pretty similar to that next spring.

  1. joshvanklomp - Jul 27, 2013 at 12:34 PM

    I think I’d go Drummond or Faried over Cousins, but can’t really complain otherwise.

  2. bowmanj35 - Jul 27, 2013 at 12:52 PM

    I look at this list, and I am amazed at how far the NBA has fallen in talent pool. I remember back in the days where every player on the Olympic team was an absolute stud, and I’m only 34.

    • logisticalvoices - Jul 27, 2013 at 12:58 PM

      Other than the Dream Team in 92, I’m not sure what other team you could be talking about…

    • jimeejohnson - Jul 27, 2013 at 12:59 PM

      That’s a good one.

    • bayrich - Jul 27, 2013 at 1:02 PM

      Mostly everybody on that list is under 25 I’d rather see these young dudes play with crazy talent then lebron and company demolish everyone

    • snoopy2014 - Jul 27, 2013 at 1:40 PM

      You must have missed the point of this entire article. This isn’t the Olympic roster. This is the roster you have to field for the FIBA cup because the mega-stars in the Olympics won’t play, so you can’t compare this to the old 92 or 96 Olympic teams.

  3. money2long - Jul 27, 2013 at 1:30 PM

    steph curry is the man

  4. acdc363 - Jul 27, 2013 at 1:46 PM

    Do they televise these games?

  5. bifford - Jul 27, 2013 at 2:01 PM

    Cousins isn’t making the team. Andre Drummond will take that spot.

  6. cowboysfaninbuffalove - Jul 27, 2013 at 2:14 PM

    Kenneth Faried

  7. timb12 - Jul 27, 2013 at 2:39 PM

    I don’t think Rose will play in these. Maybe the Olympics, but not this.

  8. coryfor3 - Jul 27, 2013 at 2:46 PM

    Ugh

  9. greej1938l - Jul 27, 2013 at 2:58 PM

    lol there is no chance drummond makes it

  10. flickflint - Jul 27, 2013 at 3:44 PM

    Hibbert?

    • herkulease - Jul 27, 2013 at 4:44 PM

      Hibbert can’t play for team USA. He decided to play for the Jamaican National team and that decision, makes him ineligible to play for another country.

      Even if Jamaica released him, it would require the some unlikely things to occur for FIBA to allow him to play for the US. Jamaica undergoes a civil war and it results in and east and west Jamaica. Somehow interest basketball in the US comes so low that having Hibbert on the team would help regain that interest and be good in promoting the game.

  11. captainwisdom8888 - Jul 27, 2013 at 4:35 PM

    I think you need another big man in that lineup for sure. David Lee, Roy Hibbert, Al Horford, Zach Randolph, Greg Monroe, Lamarcus Aldridge, Al Jefferson, Andre Drummond, Kenneth Faried, Joakim Noah?

    • asimonetti88 - Jul 27, 2013 at 4:54 PM

      Hibbert plays for Jamaica, Horford is Dominican and Noah plays for France.

    • jimeejohnson - Jul 27, 2013 at 5:20 PM

      Zach Randolph is one heck of a ball player. David Lee is, too. Losing tough, skilled players is one reason the New Yawk Knicks have not made it to the NBA finals since 1998.

  12. sackings916 - Jul 28, 2013 at 2:58 PM

    As a Kings fan here in Sac I’ll be the first one to say that Cousins doesn’t deserve to make the roster. I love the experience he got from this whole thing and seeing the work ethic it takes to be a star.

  13. 24thesho - Jul 29, 2013 at 8:09 AM

    I bet you if D. Cousins was on the last Olympic team, those games would not have been as nerve racking, because the inside presence was so weak, I was screaming at the T.V. every game in the final rounds.

  14. obmig - Jul 29, 2013 at 9:25 AM

    They absolutely need another Center. One of the top 5 guards listed should be dropped for one or they won’t have the size they need for teams like Spain. They have plenty of ball handlers and scoring without any 1 of those guards.

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