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USA hoops president Colangelo talks putting four bigs on Team USA roster

Aug 24, 2014, 12:30 PM EST

Andre Drummond AP

Anthony Davis is going to start for Team USA at center, being an active, mobile big who will get the bulk of the minutes at the five for the USA in Spain at the World Cup.

Behind him is DeMarcus Cousins.

And Andre Drummond.

And Mason Plumlee.

That’s a lot of centers for a team that’s going to play small and use its athleticism to overwhelm opponents, as has long been the international system for coach Mike Krzyzewski.

So what gives? USA Basketball President Jerry Colangelo explained it this way to Marc Stein of ESPN.

“This gives us an opportunity to do some things we haven’t had a chance to do in the past,” Colangelo said. “It’s true that the preferred style of play [in recent years] has been going small, but you have to ask: Was that by choice or by necessity?

“Early on [this summer], we said it would be hard to carry four bigs, but that was kind of put on the shelf. Certainly there won’t be any discussion going forward about, ‘What are you going to do about bigs, what are you going to do about playing teams with size?’ If Coach wishes to show a big front line, he now has the capacity to do so.”

I think it was by choice, but it’s an easy choice to make when you can roll LeBron James or Kevin Durant at the four. Of course that was the plan this year, until Durant decided to pull out after the first round of training camp. Clearly that changed the thinking for Team USA.

This also may be a case of three solid backups and Coach K hoping one of them really breaks out.

The USA needed at least a couple bigs off the bench because the biggest obstacle between them and the gold medal is Spain which boasts quality big men — Pau Gasol, Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka. But it was expected two or maybe three bigs would make the roster to allow room for one more guard/shooter (which if you’re going to play small…).

Nope. The advantage for Team USA is that at the World Cup (unlike USA Soccer at its World Cup) is it got a very soft group and the soft side of the draw after that if they win the group. It is likely Lithuania — ranked fourth in the world but still a couple of steps behind this USA roster — is the toughest match they face until the gold medal game.

By then we may know which bigs are going to get some serious run. Team USA has options, a surprising number of them.

  1. succulentnipples - Aug 24, 2014 at 1:41 PM

    Big Johnathon Football.

  2. ProBasketballPundit - Aug 24, 2014 at 2:16 PM

    Everybody keeps talking about Spain and how we have to have bigs to beat them; does anybody remember the gold medal game against Spain? It was a freaking joke. There was nearly 50 fouls in the first half. The refs are the only reason it was even a game.

  3. ez0682 - Aug 24, 2014 at 3:20 PM

    Can’t wait til USA loses. I hate every player an coach in this team except Cusins.

  4. eugenesaxe1 - Aug 24, 2014 at 3:45 PM

    They had to make space for Coach K’s pet Plumlee.

  5. avb300 - Aug 24, 2014 at 10:15 PM

    Seeing Drummond and Davis together on the court would be absolutely devastating. I can’t wait. I hope they use that lineup at some point.

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