Report: Damian Lillard out, Julius Randle and Jaylen Brown in for Team USA consideration
Team USA is losing its best player.
After Anthony Davis then James Harden withdrew from consideration for the 2019 FIBA World Cup, Damian Lillard is also pulling out.
Shams Charania of The Athletic:
Sources: San Antonio Spurs‘ DeMar DeRozan was added onto the original USA Basketball roster for World Cup one month ago, but the four-time All-Star has withdrawn from Team USA play this summer to focus on upcoming NBA season.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) July 23, 2019
This is a major drop in star power for the Americans. Their best player on the World Cup roster could be Kemba Walker? Kyle Lowry? Khris Middleton? This is no Dream Team.
The United States also went from stacked to thin at point guard in a hurry. Walker and Lowry remain – if Lowry is healthy. Donovan Mitchell and Marcus Smart are combo guards. But that’s a big drop from an expected 1-2 punch of Harden and Lillard.
Julius Randle and Jaylen Brown won’t help there.
Brown is a solid addition to the roster pool. He’s a versatile wing who can fit into many lineups and styles. That malleability will be important as Team USA can longer rely on a huge talent disparity.
Randle probably makes less sense. He’s an impressive individual scorer with passing ability. But his ball-stopping tendencies and woeful defense as a big leave major questions about his ability to contribute with other top players. He’s more of a floor-raiser. If the Americans need a floor-raiser, they’re in trouble.
DeMar DeRozan apparently withdrew from the training-camp roster before anyone knew he was even added, which is pretty fitting for this team.