USA Basketball announces 12 man roster for World Cup; Parsons, Hayward, Lillard, Korver cut
The roster is set and Mike Krzyzewski decided to go with three big men.
In the late hours after Team USA dismantled Puerto Rico at Madison Square Garden, USA Basketball announced the 12 man roster headed to Spain for the World Cup. That team is:
Guards: Stephen Curry, DeMar DeRozan, James Harden, Kyrie Irving, Derrick Rose, Klay Thompson.
Forwards/centers: DeMarcus Cousins, Anthony Davis, Andre Drummond, Kenneth Faried, Rudy Gay, Mason Plumlee.
That means the last set of roster cuts were Gordon Hayward, Chandler Parsons, Kyle Korver and Damian Lillard. (Bradley Beal and John Wall had been cut previously.)
Coach K went with all four centers men making the team — Davis Cousins, Plumlee and Drummond — a sign that the team is still looking ahead to a potential match-up with Spain in the gold medal game. While Davis will start at center and get the most run the four big men is a sign the team is looking ahead to a potential gold medal game against the host Spaniards, where Team USA will need the size (Spain rolls out Pau Gasol, Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka).
Team USA will still be a guard-driven team — they will pressure and run and count on nobody being able to slow them much.
Leaving Korver and Lillard home hurts the outside, shooting, but with Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Kyrie Irving, James Harden and the rest the USA will have no problem scoring from beyond the arc (which is closer in international ball than the NBA).
Team USA is still a gold medal favorite. They are in a soft group and after that the easy side of the single elimination bracket if they win the group. The likely toughest team they face is Lithuania (ranked fourth in the world) — Spain, France, Argentina, Greece are all on the other side of the bracket. But beating Spain in Spain will be a real test.