The FIBA World Cup will be underway this month and everyone is preparing for the competition, including the world’s best, Team USA.
Team USA will feature the comebacking Derrick Rose and the likes of Anthony Davis, James Harden, Kyrie Irving, Damien Lillard, Demar Derozan and other NBA rising stars. With Paul George’s horrific injury he will not be able to play in this tournament and this upcoming season. USA will miss his length and athleticism for guarding the other teams’ best wing players. USA will also miss his sharp shooting and quick drives to the basket. Another person that USA will also miss is the reigning NBA MVP, Kevin Durant who backed out because of personal reasons and we all know how valuable KD is to any team. His shooting, defense, length and even his presence alone makes a team better. With KD’s absence, Team USA has added Rudy Gay.
Moreover, Team USA has trimmed the roster to 16 by cutting John Wall, Bradley Beal and Paul Milsap. You only need 12 players for the FIBA World Cup and that’s why it will be hard to choose among those are left with the team.
The remaining names are: Demar DeRozan, DeMarcus Cousins, Stephen Curry, Anthony Davis, Andre Drummond,, Kenneth Faried, Rudy Gay, James Harden, Gordon Hayward, Kyrie Irving, Kyle Korver, Damian Lillard, Chandler Parsons, Derrick Rose, Klay Thompson and Mason Plumlee.
Now let’s predict the roster of Team USA.
Anthony Davis, Center/Power Forward – Davis is the only holdover from that 2012 Olympic team that won the gold medal. Many think of him as the next superstar in the coming years. He is long, athletic and a genius on the defensive end. His guard skills are very important for the international game too. So for me he has a sure slot for this roster. Demarcus Cousins can also start as center for USA but one thing is for sure, Davis is a starter.
Kenneth Faried, Power Forward – Faried’s motor is one of the best in the NBA. He is a tenacious rebounder and a scrapper for the loose balls. His energy, versatility and athleticism will be an important factor for Team USA. He can guard wing players and post players, which is a very important part of international play wherein you switch a lot on defense. Team USA needs to be very versatile on defense to dominate their opponents. He is very physical too. I see him playing more of Charles Barkley’s role with the Dream Team, getting offensive rebounds and put-backs. If Cousins will start at center for USA, Davis will slide down to this spot.
Demar Derozan, Small Forward – Derozan’s role here will be much like Kobe’s role in the 2008 and 2012 team which is a defensive stopper. He is very versatile on defense and his length and athleticism makes him a very good defender for the international game and he can pick off passes on the passing lane and when he gets to that open court, look out. I also won’t be surprised if Rudy Gay or Chandler Parsons will start over Derozan.
Derrick Rose, Shooting Guard/Point Guard – We are all excited to watch D-Rose play in a high level after those 2 knee injuries and playing just only 10 games in the last 2 seasons. Based on his performance in that infamous team USA scrimmage, I think we will see a normal – or better – D-Rose. I see more of him playing the 2 spot in this team with the likes of Kyrie, Steph and Dame playing the 1 spot. Look out for D-Rose leading the charge for Team USA because it looks like he is the leader for this team and I won’t be surprised if he leads the team in scoring in this tournament.
Steph Curry, Point Guard – First, this spot can be interchangeable. Kyrie and Dame will see their starter minutes for sure. I just put Steph here for shooting and spacing reasons because all the other four guys here in the starting lineup would love to drive the lane. Also if you put Steph on a pick and roll with Davis, it will be hard for the defense to stop it. Imagine, deciding to focus on Steph’s jumper then Davis will get a free roll to the basket because both of them are good pick and roll players.
Kyrie Irving, Point Guard/Shooting Guard – If you want a spark off the bench, Kyrie will give it to you and more. Kyrie has the ability to lead USA in scoring in this tournament. He thrives in this kinds of games which is a fast-paced game.
Damian Lillard, Point Guard – You will also need the three point shooting of Dame. Team USA needs shooters and you got one in Dame, Steph, Klay and Kyrie. It’ll be scary for the other teams when he is on the floor.
James Harden, Shooting Guard/Small Forward – I know his defense is suspect but he still belongs in this lineup. We will see more of his patented euro-step in the FIBA World Cup. He is a starter too, I just put him here because roster-wise, I think it is reasonable to start D-Rose on the 2 spot and Derozan on the 3. You’ll see Harden play on the 3 spot too.
Klay Thompson, Shooting Guard/Small Forward – Klay is here because of his shooting and defensive abilities. He can hound other opponents with his length and quickness. He can take you off the dribble too which Kyle Korver can’t do. His versatility on both ends is the reason he’ll be choses over Korver.
Rudy Gay, Small Forward/Power Forward – Rudy Gay is one of the defensive stoppers here in the team. Much like Derozan, he can cover you on defense and is a good rebounder too. He is close to 6’9″ and is very long. He can play a little stretch-four.
Chandler Parsons, Small Forward/Power Forward – Again, along with Gay and Derozan, Parsons’ role is to be a defensive stopper. But his shooting and length can make him a stretch-four too. By having a 6’9″ frame and quick feet on defense, he can pretty much help USA with his versatility. The international game is very fast and that’s why we will see a lot of small ball from Team USA.
Demarcus Cousins, Center – Playing against teams like Spain, USA will need big bodies. With Demarcus Cousins, he can match up well against Marc Gasol and Pau Gasol. His skills and physicality will truly help Team USA.
Andre Drummond, Power Forward/Center
Kyle Korver, Small Forward
Gordon Hayward, Small Forward/Power Forward