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Jerry Colangelo: USA Basketball ‘looking to select the best team, which are not necessarily the best players’

Aug 5, 2014, 10:38 AM EDT

Mason Plumlee, DeMarcus Cousins Mason Plumlee, DeMarcus Cousins

USA Basketball officially announced the trimming of this summer’s list of participants to 16 players, after the conclusion of training in Las Vegas and in advance of the same in Chicago which will begin next week.

John Wall, Bradley Beal and Paul Millsap were all cut from the group for somewhat obvious reasons, but select team big man Mason Plumlee reportedly having the inside track on making the squad over DeMarcus Cousins isn’t as easy for many to understand.

Jerry Colangelo, USA Basketball National Team Managing Director, made a veiled reference to this while being quoted in the organization’s official release.

“We’ve said all along that we would be proud to have any of the players who were in Las Vegas represent USA Basketball and the United States,” Colangelo said. “This phase of the selection process was extremely difficult and very thorough, and it’s worth again mentioning that we are looking to select the best team, which are not necessarily the best players.”

There are additional biases evident in USA Basketball selections; showing a consistent level of past commitment to the organization has proven to be advantageous, as has previous experience playing under Mike Krzyzewski at Duke University.

Plumlee qualifies to be in the latter category, obviously, but has also shown in camp to be a better fit on the defensive end of the floor than Cousins. That more than anything will determine whether one or both of them ends up on the final roster, which is what Colangelo was trying to point out by reiterating this statement.

The updated roster is listed below.

NAME                               POS          HGT       WGT            DOB             TEAM / COLLEGE                                   

DeMarcus Cousins           C             6-11       270           8/13/90        Sacramento Kings / Kentucky

Stephen Curry                   G             6-3          185           3/14/88        Golden State Warriors / Davidson

Anthony Davis                 F/C           6-10       220           3/11/93        New Orleans Pelicans / Kentucky

DeMar DeRozan               G             6-7          216           8/07/89        Toronto Raptors / USC

Andre Drummond           C             6-10       270           9/10/93        Detroit Pistons / Connecticut

Kevin Durant                      G             6-9          230           9/29/88        Oklahoma City Thunder / Texas

Kenneth Faried                 F              6-8          228         11/19/89        Denver Nuggets / Morehead State

James Harden                   G             6-5          220           8/26/89        Houston Rockets / Arizona State

Gordon Hayward             F              6-8          210           3/23/90        Utah Jazz / Butler

Kyrie Irving                         G             6-3          191           3/23/92        Cleveland Cavaliers / Duke

Kyle Korver                       G/F          6-7          212           3/17/81        Atlanta Hawks / Creighton

Damian Lillard                    G             6-3          195           7/15/90        Portland Trail Blazers / Weber State

Chandler Parsons             F              6-9          227         10/25/88        Dallas Mavericks / Florida

Mason Plumlee                F              6-11       235           3/05/90        Brooklyn Nets / Duke

Derrick Rose                       G             6-3          190         10/04/88        Chicago Bulls / Memphis

Klay Thompson                 G             6-7          205           2/08/90        Golden State Warriors / Washington State

  1. nfl4days - Aug 5, 2014 at 10:42 AM

    John wall though? I don’t know man…..

    • sire2334 - Aug 5, 2014 at 11:03 AM

      John Wall would’ve made MORE sense if it were “best team”. He’s a guy who doesn’t care about stats. Just wants to get others involved. You got to have at least one of those on your team running point.

      • innovativethinking87 - Aug 5, 2014 at 12:05 PM

        Yea but over Lillard though? Thats tough, but Lillard is slightly better.. Considering voters selected him as an All-NBA and now this selection. Hes pretty solidified

      • sire2334 - Aug 5, 2014 at 12:18 PM

        That’s the thing…Lillard isn’t better…Wall avg. more assists and rebounds and is a WAY better defender. You suffer from ESPN syndrome. He, like Kyrie have the flashy highlights while Wall is quietly doing his thing.

      • Kurt Helin - Aug 5, 2014 at 12:48 PM

        What Lillard is better at is shooting jumpers (go look at the stats from beyond 10 feet if you must, it’s clear cut) and Coach K in international ball wants shooters. Beal loses on that because they have Thompson and Korver who can shoot and do more.

      • sire2334 - Aug 5, 2014 at 2:33 PM

        Yeah but you still need someone who can get those shooters open looks. Ask Ariza how that worked out for him last year. I don’t know…Maybe “Point Guard” is the wrong word for the position then.

  2. ryanaammess - Aug 5, 2014 at 10:48 AM

    Irving and Plumlee should have been 2 of the first 3 to get cut. Wall is bigger, faster and a much better defender. I take it Coach K and Colangelo dont watch many NBA games because Millsap is miles ahead of Plums. Stupid Stupid Stupid.

    • Aberam - Aug 5, 2014 at 11:18 AM

      In FIBA basketball, shooting is more important than in the NBA. There are no defensive 3 seconds, so opponents can stand in the paint daring players like Wall to shoot. Millsap and Plumlee were never competing. Millsap was going to play exclusively as a stretch 4, and Plumlee will be defensive Center and PnR roll man.

    • sportsfan18 - Aug 5, 2014 at 12:14 PM

      Wall’s homers say he’s better.

      Those who are NOT on internet boards disagree.

      • sire2334 - Aug 5, 2014 at 12:27 PM

        Im a DC homer not a Wall homer. Unlike most I’ve had the opportunity to see every game. Non DC homers haven’t because the team gets no national recognition. So I’m going with what I’ve seen. I hated Wall’s antics when first came in but since then he’s buckled down and worked hard. Do assists matter anymore? Does getting other players involved matter anymore? Or is it just about scoring? Either way the guy avg. about 20 and 9 and is a great defender. I don’t see how “Wall homers” are so far off.

      • ryanaammess - Aug 5, 2014 at 2:11 PM

        Im a Celtics fan. Have fun watching Irving pretend to be a matador all season. Walls a beast and his shooting is coming along.

    • antistratfordian - Aug 5, 2014 at 3:11 PM

      “Wall is bigger, faster and a much better defender.”

      But he’s not a better basketball player.

      • ryanaammess - Aug 5, 2014 at 3:12 PM

        I disagree sir. I like two way players.

      • antistratfordian - Aug 5, 2014 at 3:16 PM

        Wall is a little too out of control for me. I’d take Irving over him every day of the week and twice on Sundays. I don’t consider Wall a good defender.

    • redbaronx - Aug 6, 2014 at 1:21 PM

      @raynaammess – First of all, berating Coach K and Colangelo is just plain stupid. You may be too young to remember, but USA basketball was in the gutter in the early 2000’s Silver at Olympics? Not winning the World Championship? Before you mouth off on them, just remember who got the USA back to winning! That’s #1

      #2 Plumlee is by far the better TEAMMATE then Cousins. Cousins is a great player that has great games, but is just as likely to get thrown out on a technical, or tweet about his teammates. Since Cousins has already tweeted about some of the teammates of players on the squad, how much do you think the other guys on the squad like him? And don’t kid yourself, chemistry matters too!

      Since I’m a Wizards fan, I’m disappointed Wall didn’t make it, but whatever reason Coach K and Colangelo choose Irving, I’m 100% OK with it because these guys know more about BBall then you or I will EVER know!

      • ryanaammess - Aug 6, 2014 at 1:47 PM

        Im sure alot of other coaches could have brought USA basketball back. He was picked because of his name.

        As far Plumlee v Cousins goes I guess id prefer my teammate to be you know… talented. Hes only there because of Coach Ks love affair with former Duke players. If they wanted a hustle guy to play the 5 Robin Lopez is a better player the Plumlee, Or Draymond Green, or Derrick Favors or how about John Henson. Or what about his own brother? There are better guys out there and its a waste to keep a good locker room guy around on an international team.

      • redbaronx - Aug 6, 2014 at 1:51 PM

        @ryanaammess – “A lot of coaches” tried and failed. He wasn’t picked for his name. He was picked because he’s a winner who actually has some knowledge of the international game, something not every NBA coach actually has experience with. There are different rules.

        And since we’re on the subject of picking players, to my knowledge Coach K hasn’t lost a tournament yet. His predecessors had been losing since 1998.

        Also, how many have you won? I rest my case.

  3. chris3141084 - Aug 5, 2014 at 11:02 AM

    Here’s to the start of laying the back story to why the Duke player makes it over the best center in the league (arguably).

  4. amlowlife - Aug 5, 2014 at 11:57 AM

    Let me start out by saying I’m no fan of Duke or the Plumlees but I was at the Friday night game (about 20 feet, 11″ from where George went down) and was watching Cousins and Plumlee closely.

    For my team, I’d pick Cousins right off the bat but I could see where, on a team with some really good guard and forward scoring options, you’d want Plumlee.

    He was pure hustle, lots of banging (particularly with Cousins), good rebounding and head’s up team play (passing, team defense). I didn’t want to like him but now I totally understand why he would get selected over DeMarcus.

    • redbaronx - Aug 6, 2014 at 1:05 PM

      @amlowlife – Plus Cousins is likely to blow up at any minute. I’d take Plumlee at this point.

  5. andrewlucksneard - Aug 5, 2014 at 11:58 AM

    Did it occur to anyone that nobody wants to play with Cousins? His attitude and lack of D make it an easy badketball choice already but add in that his USA teammates don’t like him and know his history and it becomes simple for Coach K and Colangelo

    • redbaronx - Aug 6, 2014 at 1:25 PM

      @andrewlucksneard – I agree with you 100%. Cousins is a great player, but there’s a reason Sacramento sucks, and it’s not just their lack of talent. Cousins is the kind of guy you can see never winning anything because all he does is complain. Complain about the refs. Complain about his teammates. Complain about opposing players.

      For all of those people that think Plumlee is being picked because Coach K is from Duke, or for racial reasons or some other stupid reason, think again! If Plumlee is picked it’s because Coach K thinks Plumlee gives him the best chance to win. Period.

  6. kcroyal - Aug 5, 2014 at 12:20 PM

    I’m not even 30 yet, and I’m younger than exactly one player on that list. Jesus Christ this is going way too fast.

    • antistratfordian - Aug 5, 2014 at 3:12 PM

      You ain’t seen nothing yet.

  7. birdsflynorth206 - Aug 5, 2014 at 12:24 PM

    Irving over Wall is b******* and when Plumlee gets picked over Cousins that will be even more b*******

    • redbaronx - Aug 6, 2014 at 1:07 PM

      I’m a DC fan, but honestly if I were picking the squad, I’d take Irving over Wall. Wall has too much of a tendency to get out of whack shooting wise. The playoffs last year were exhibit A that he still has a lot of work to do on being consistent when the level of play gets more pressurized. I don’t think Irving has that issue.

  8. mungman69 - Aug 5, 2014 at 12:32 PM

    Cousins should make this team. But I don’t know what he’s looked like in practice.

  9. lj312chicago - Aug 5, 2014 at 12:51 PM

    Bye bye Kyrie Irving lol

  10. mungman69 - Aug 5, 2014 at 1:22 PM

    Wall looked real good in the few games I saw him play in. Hey, if you don’t make this team put a chip on your shoulder and carry it into this season.

  11. undagroundnbablogspot - Aug 5, 2014 at 3:35 PM

    Why hasn’t anyone mentioned Plumlee being White as one of the “biases” he has in favor over Cousins. Are you guys serious?

    • eventhorizon04 - Aug 5, 2014 at 4:41 PM

      Because when most people look at the roster, it’s hard to find evidence that Colangelo is excluding black people from the team.

      Kevin Durant, Anthony Davis, Kenneth Faried, Kyrie Irving, Damian Lillard, Derrick Rose, and James Harden are all considered strong favorites to make the roster and, in case you didn’t know, they all happen to be black.

      • tubbman27 - Aug 6, 2014 at 2:08 AM

        Actually I get where you’re coming from. The NBA would like to have some white guys on the team for marketing purposes. Plumdog Millionaire just happens to be the most talented white guy. Plus Coach K hates Coach Cal.

      • undagroundnbablogspot - Aug 6, 2014 at 7:28 AM

        Of course you can’t exclude Black people from a basketball roster, because overall they’re the best basketball players in the world. But being that this is an American team and America is still a White-dominated nation then ideally the makeup of any National team would reflect that, meaning even if you have mediocre White players (no offense to anyone) that can be rationalized into the squad then by all means you have to consider. After all John Stockton and Chris Mullin didn’t have to added to the original Dream Team. If there were more native White players that could be rationalized being a given shot to join the National team I’m sure they’d be there, but most of the better White players in the NBA these days aren’t nationals. I mean Chandler Parsons?

    • redbaronx - Aug 6, 2014 at 1:14 PM

      @undagroundnbablogspot – Are you serious? How do you make this about race? This is about the best squad going, not race. Cousins can be a problem on the team or get a technical at the most inconvenient moments. Cousins routinely berates other NBA players in the media. How good of a teammate do you think he’s going to be on that squad with guys he’s gone off on Twitter?

      If we’re talking about the best of these two guys who gives your team a chance to win, that’s Plumlee.

      • redbaronx - Aug 6, 2014 at 1:39 PM

        ….and just to add to your misery, Magic Johnson was HIV positive when he was selected to the Dream Team. Was there bias against him that they cut him off the Dream Team? No! Everybody supported him and he went to the Olympics.

    • redbaronx - Aug 6, 2014 at 1:34 PM

      @undagroundnbablogspot – Since I can’t reply directly to your post below, I’ll reply to this post.

      A) John Stockton is one of the best guards ever. You really think he got picked on race for the original Dream Team??? You’re deluded! Name one black player you think should have taken his spot on the original Dream Team. And if you say Gary Payton, Gary wasn’t at his peak in 92. (Lets see you stick your foot in your mouth)

      B) Chris Mullin was one of the best big 3 point shooters in his time.

      C) You obviously have racial issues! I suggest you work them out!

      D) Before you ask, I’m mixed race. So no, I’m not biased either way!

      Cut the racial BS out please! There are race issues that exist in America, but you’re barking up the wrong tree/forest. NBA basketball coaches and players do not make game choices based on race!!!

  12. ez0682 - Aug 5, 2014 at 6:04 PM

    Wall, beal, an cusins huh okay let’s go look hope usa looses. F coach sht i meant k. Hope they loose an this is coming from an American

  13. djshnooks - Aug 6, 2014 at 7:43 AM

    I see 2 players who belong and a bunch of who’s who of former college all-stars.

    They’re gonna get destroyed.

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