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Damian Lillard first in line as Team USA injury replacement

Aug 28, 2014, 5:35 PM EDT

Dominican Republic v United States Getty Images

Team USA began building its World Cup roster with a player pool full of All-NBA talent, but steadily, the squad lost much of that star power.

Blake Griffin withdrew. So did Kevin Love. Paul George got hurt. Kevin Durant pulled out, too.

And Damian Lillard got cut.

Unlike with Griffin, Love, George and Durant, Team USA made the call to drop Lillard. For whatever reason, Jerry Colangelo and Mike Krzyzewski didn’t deem Lillard worthy.

But the door isn’t completely shut on the Trail Blazers guard who made the All-NBA third team last season.

Chris Haynes of CSN Northwest:

Prior to being left off of the final 12-man roster last week, the Portland Trail Blazers’ All-Star point guard was informed that there could be a possibility he’d be added to the roster if one of their players, in particular Derrick Rose who has been dealing with knee soreness, were unable or opted not to continue the journey, a league source told

Lillard expressed to Jerry Colangelo, director of USA Basketball, his desire to be a part of Team USA in Spain and said he would rejoin the team if his services are indeed needed, the source said.

“It’s something we did discuss with Damian,” Colangelo confirmed to via telephone. “We’ll see what happens.”

There isn’t much time left to add Lillard. Teams must submit final rosters tomorrow, and Rose insists he’s healthy. What will change between now and tomorrow?

Because the Americans – with Anthony Davis, DeMarcus Cousins, Mason Plumlee and Andre Drummond – went deeper at center than most expected, Lillard could even fill-in if a big man gets hurt. The roster balance would just tilt more toward the perimeter. Cousins dealt with an injury earlier in the summer, but he says he’s fine, and Krzyzewski seems to agree. Again, it’s difficult to see a last-minute change here either.

The odds seem extremely stacked against Lillard going to Spain, but I guess it’s nice for him to know he was No. 13. That’s some level of appreciation, and it might make him more willing to try out for the 2016 Olympic team rather than become disgruntled with the process.

  1. chicitybulls - Aug 28, 2014 at 5:49 PM

    Well, this should make the people that were/are complaining about Rose happy.

    • sportsfan18 - Aug 28, 2014 at 5:51 PM

      chi city…

      nothing makes liberals happy… NOTHING

      • money2long - Aug 28, 2014 at 6:49 PM

        Was it hard writing less than 15 lines ?

    • innovativethinking87 - Aug 28, 2014 at 7:34 PM

      Lillard got screwed dude. Rose needs to go rehab on his own time. Lillard was the sacrificial lamb in this whole process. Rose doesn’t even look anywhere near worthy of this. He did when he was MVP tho, a long time ago..

      • chicitybulls - Aug 28, 2014 at 8:22 PM

        Rose is not rehabbing. He’s already done that. He doesn’t look anywhere near worthy of this??? Really? Did you not see him play in any of the games? He’s had 1 bad game and now he’s not worthy? You’re blowing the horn mighy loud for Lillard but what has he done in the league so far? I’m not calling Lillard a scrub because he is a pretty good player but you’re making him out to be a top 5 player in the league. He’s not. When healthy, Rose is. You dont lose your spot due to injury. If he is out played then that’s one thing but you nor I have been around this team like the people who’s making the decisions. If they feel like Lillard didnt earn a spot over Rose based on what they saw in practices and games then who are you to question it? I’ll take the word of 2 hall of famers (Coach K and Jerry Colangelo). I trust their decision.

      • c2poke88 - Aug 29, 2014 at 12:03 PM

        @chicitybulls – Even if Rose was healthy, he still wouldn’t be a top-5 player in the NBA. But that’s another argument for another day.

        Rose’s MVP season was 4 years ago, and he didn’t even deserve the award then. Since winning MVP, Rose has only played 49 games in 3 seasons. He’s only played 10 games the past 2 seasons. While Rose has been out of commission due to injury, players like Lillard have been earning their stripes in the NBA. Lillard was 3rd-team All-NBA even though he plays in the super tough Western Conference.

        You say Rose shouldn’t lose his spot due to injury. But Rose DIDN’T HAVE A SPOT TO LOSE! While Rose has been spending the past 2 years rehabbing, Lillard has spent the past 2 years EARNING a spot on Team USA. You can’t just put Rose on Team USA based on what he did 4 years ago. Rose has done absolutely NOTHING over the past 2 years to justify putting him on Team USA’s final 12-man roster. Rose does not deserve to be on the team. It’s obvious to everyone except Rose/Bulls fans.

      • chicitybulls - Aug 29, 2014 at 12:24 PM

        You’re one of those people that believes Rose didn’t deserve the MVP THAT season the there’s no reason to have a conversation with you. It was apparent to everyone in the NBA during that season that he was the MVP. I remember an interview with Kobe around the all star break and he was asked who the MVP was and his answer was Rose. I remember many others being interviewed that season too and that was their answer as well. Again, no need to have a conversation with you if you don’t recognize his talent.

        You say he does not deserve to be on the team and it’s obvious to everyone except Rose and Bulls fans. Well, glad to know that Coach K and Jerry Colangelo are Rose/Bulls fans.

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