Team USA cut the Wizards backcourt of John Wall and Bradley Beal. They also cut late entry Paul Millsap. That means the team now has 16 players remaining for 12 spots.
I really expected John Wall to make the team. He was playing poorly during the scrimmage but he is still a good passer and defender at the point guard position. Beal had to make everything for a chance to make the final roster. This is a good learning experience for him and he will be back. Millsap was a late addition but I thought his outside shooting and rebounding could help this team.
With Paul George’s injury the locks for the team are now Kevin Durant, Anthony Davis, Stephen Curry, James Harden and after his performance throughout training camp and the scrimmage Derrick Rose. Rose looked fast but under control in the brief time that we watched him play.
Among the 11 players left I believe Kyrie Irving, Kyle Korver, Klay Thompson, Kenneth Faried, Gordon Hayward, DeMarcus Cousins and Mason Plumlee will be selected. I know it’s weird to have Faried, Plumlee and Cousins but I think Team USA will need bodies when they play against Spain. Left off the final roster will be Damian Lillard, Andre Drummond, DeMar DeRozan and Chandler Parsons.
I think Hayward makes it over Parsons and DeRozan because he is a better playmaker and he has bulked up so he can try to defender some bigger players. I left Lillard off the list because I think Kyrie is a more willing passer. If DeRozan was a better long range shooter he would be on this team. Drummond does a lot of things well but he just can’t shoot free throws.
I think Team USA will go with a traditional lineup, which means they will start DeMarcus Cousins alongside Anthony Davis and have Kevin Durant play his natural small forward position. During the game they will go small and launch of bunch of three pointers. Lineups of Davis, Durant, Korver, Harden and Curry will be seen at times. This team wants to run and shoot.
Kenneth Faried will most likely be the 12th man, a role that Anthony Davis played in 2012. He will play when there is a big blowout and if Team USA gets into foul trouble against the Gasol Brothers they will need his energy off the bench. Mason Plumlee is another energy guy who rebounds, blocks shots and runs the floor. He will get baskets because he hustles.
Shooting will propel this team to the Gold medal game against Spain but their big men might be the most important pieces if they want to beat Spain.