Jul 27, 2013, 12:31 PM EDT
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.
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.
Jul 13, 2014, 12:12 AM EDT
Wizards quickly replace Trevor Ariza with Pierce in a fairly stunning turn of events.
Jul 12, 2014, 11:00 PM EDT
Not sure LeBron needed defending, but this is pretty amusing.
Jul 12, 2014, 9:29 PM EDT
Porter drops 25 points at Summer League in Las Vegas.
Jul 12, 2014, 8:30 PM EDT
Martin discusses Melo’s future and his own at Summer League in Las Vegas.
Jul 12, 2014, 7:01 PM EDT
Wizards can’t convince Ariza to return, and Houston gets a nice talent upgrade at a reasonable price.
Pau Gasol tweets he has chosen to play for Bulls. Only question is will it be sign-and-trade or not.
Jul 12, 2014, 6:41 PM EDT
The Bulls may have to amnesty Carlos Boozer.
Jul 12, 2014, 6:20 PM EDT
This is about cashing in on the new TV deal in 2016.
Jul 12, 2014, 6:00 PM EDT
Wade releases a statement supporting LeBron’s decision to leave the Heat for the Cavaliers.
Jul 12, 2014, 4:30 PM EDT
Irving also eligible for full 30 percent on Derrick Rose rule
Jul 12, 2014, 2:59 PM EDT
Is the best option to do nothing and be patient?
Jul 12, 2014, 1:42 PM EDT
He shot 45.1 percent from three last season.
Jul 12, 2014, 1:27 PM EDT
His other suitors have moved on.
Jul 12, 2014, 12:45 PM EDT
A lineup of Norris Cole, Dwyane Wade, Luol Deng, Josh McRoberts and Chris Bosh would be entertaining.
Jul 12, 2014, 11:13 AM EDT
This played out as expected.
Jul 12, 2014, 11:00 AM EDT
The NBA has simplified signing first-round picks. This case fell through the cracks.
Jul 12, 2014, 9:30 AM EDT
Like with fans, there was some surprise and a lot of nods from NBA players on twitter.
Jul 12, 2014, 8:00 AM EDT
LeBron returns to Cleveland a fully realized player.
Jul 12, 2014, 1:11 AM EDT
Two teams near the top of their conference could get a lot better if they land him.
Jul 12, 2014, 12:10 AM EDT
Carter will likely replace Mike Miller, who might be Cleveland-bound to play with LeBron James
Jul 11, 2014, 11:28 PM EDT
Bucks-Cavaliers was by far the main event of the first day of Summer League action in Las Vegas.
- Report: Paul Pierce to sign two-year deal to join Wizards 4
- Report: Trevor Ariza to sign 4-year, $32 million deal with Rockets 35
- Pau Gasol tweets he has chosen to play for Bulls. Only question is will it be sign-and-trade or not. 50
- LeBron James’ contract two years, $42 million with Cavaliers. That doesn’t mean he’s leaving. 37
- LeBron returns to Cleveland a more efficient, mature player that can take team further 36
- Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker shine in head-to-head Summer League matchup 19
- Posnanski: LeBron James proves he’s a true Clevelander 58
- Report: Isaiah Thomas headed to Phoenix Suns in a sign-and-trade 40