John Wall might not like his chances for making Team USA's roster for the 2016 Olympics. However, others believe he should indeed make the final 12-man roster.
Just about every basketball or sports website either commented on the comments made by the Washington Wizards point guard to CSNwashington.com over the weekend or previously projected which NBAers should be headed to Rio next summer.
The debate comes from the reality that there are far more deserving candidates than the three likely point guards slots available. Just everybody, including Wall, concedes that Chris Paul and Stephen Curry make the team assuming good health and interest. Based on the current USA Basketball working roster, that leaves Wall, who was cut from the 2014 World Cup team, battling with Kyrie Irving, Russell Westbrook an Mike Conley Jr.
"I’m just being honest," Wall told CSNwashington.com. "Chris Paul has already won one (Olympic gold medal). Steph Curry had an amazing last year and just won the World Cup. Kyrie just won the World Cup. Russell will probably be on the team. They’ll use him as a two-guard. "So, I probably won’t make it."
Some in the basketball community see Wall as one of those who should make the team. We are after all talking about the best pass-first point guard other than Paul plus an athletic defensive pest.
Steve Aschburner, NBA.com: We’ve heard it from the USA brain trust that this team isn’t just a positional thing. So I’m not too bound up in strict point-guard duties or qualifications. Of that group, I know I’m going to have Chris Paul and Steph Curry on board. John Wall is hitting his prime and we’ll all know it by next spring, so I like him as my third PG. And then I still find a roster spot for Russell Westbrook (mentioned fourth here not in any pecking order but because he’s such a hybrid).
Another NBA.com writer is also pro-Wall
Ian Thomsen, NBA.com: Curry, Paul and Wall should be the point guards because all are excellent passers and floor leaders – attributes that will be crucial to the success of this team. (If one of them is injured next summer then Conley should be the first alternate.) And then add Westbrook to the roster too – but mark him down simply as a guard, because he transcends traditional positioning.
However, most writers, including ProBasketballTalk.com's Kurt Helin agree with Wall's take. That he lacks the perimeter shot of some of his competitors doesn't help.
It’s simply a numbers game. The USA usually takes four or five guards, three of them point guards (James Harden and Klay Thompsonlikely are at the two guard spots, in my opinion). Stephen Curry is a lock. If Chris Paul wants to go, he is a lock. And then it comes down to the athletic freak and former Olympian that is Russell Westbrook (I think he makes the team), but if not him then it’s Kyrie Irving, who played for Mike Krzyzewski at Duke and played well for Team USA last summer at the World Cup. Wall said he thinks Irving makes it. If everyone’s healthy, Wall just misses the cut. Team USA needs three point guards and he’s fifth. Point guard is a ridiculously deep position for Team USA, which is a nice luxury to have, but some very good players just miss the cut.
Besides Aschburner and Thomsen, the other six NBA.com writers went with Westbrook.
John Schuhmann, NBA.com: Chris Paul is the best floor general in the league. Stephen Curry is the best shooter. And Russell Westbrook has the speed and athleticism that overwhelms most international opponents. Though Irving was the MVP of the World Cup last year, Wall would be ahead of him on my list of alternates, because he’s the better passer and better defender.
Several noted Wall's honesty as a positive.
CBSSports: But Wall is right, with other point guards like Paul, Stephen Curry and Kyrie Irving in the running, he is more than likely going to be left off the roster.
You have to hand it to Wall. He seems to be taking this expected slight quite well. Instead of moping or complaining, Wall is going to use this as motivation next season. And you never know, an injury or a monster season from Wall could open up a spot for him on Team USA. But if that doesn't happen, it sounds like he won't be that upset.
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