Posted January 23, 2014

Examining USA Basketball’s future after team announces new roster for 2014-16

2014 FIBA World Cup, 2016 Olympics, Rob Mahoney, Team USA, USA Basketball
LeBron James and Kevin Durant will continue their integral roles for USA Basketball. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

LeBron James and Kevin Durant will continue to be the face of USA Basketball. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

USA Basketball announced its initial 28-man roster on Thursday, featuring a mix of program veterans and relative newcomers. LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Chris Paul, and Carmelo Anthony are among the more notable returning players from Team USA rosters past, while Paul George, Blake Griffin, LaMarcus Aldridge, and DeMarcus Cousins all have a chance to represent USA Basketball in international competition for the first time.

The new roster will offer a player pool for both the 2014 FIBA World Cup and the 2016 Olympic Games — the two major international competitions of the upcoming cycle. The full roster is as follows:

LaMarcus Aldridge, Portland Trail Blazers*
Carmelo Anthony, New York Knicks
Bradley Beal, Washington Wizards*
Tyson Chandler, New York Knicks
DeMarcus Cousins, Sacramento Kings*
Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors
Anthony Davis, New Orleans Pelicans
Andre Drummond, Detroit Pistons*
Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder
Kenneth Faried, Denver Nuggets*
Paul George, Indiana Pacers*
Blake Griffin, Los Angeles Clippers*
James Harden, Houston Rockets
Gordon Hayward, Utah Jazz*
Dwight Howard, Houston Rockets
Andre Iguodala, Golden State Warriors
Kyrie Irving, Cleveland Cavaliers*
LeBron James, Miami Heat
Kyle Korver, Atlanta Hawks*
David Lee, Golden State Warriors*
Kawhi Leonard, San Antonio Spurs*
Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers*
Kevin Love, Minnesota Timberwolves
Chris Paul, Los Angeles Clippers
Derrick Rose, Chicago Bulls
Klay Thompson, Golden State Warriors*
Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder
Deron Williams, Brooklyn Nets

*Designates players who have not yet played for the senior men’s national team in formal competition.

USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo noted on Thursday that the roster was the “strongest we’ve ever had.” If nothing else, the roster is undeniably deeper in ways that previous ones were not; the teams that competed in the 2010 FIBA World Championships and the 2012 Olympics were both a bit light on conventional bigs, while this new player pool is brimming with young talent at the power forward and center positions.

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Dwight Howard has made his return to USA Basketball, his first involvement with the program since 2008. Love, Davis, and Chandler are all veterans of USA Basketball and will be in consideration for 2014 and 2016. Aldridge, Griffin, Cousins, Drummond, Lee, and Faried have all been involved in USA Basketball at some level in the past, but will compete for a spot on the national team roster over the course of this cycle. With James, Durant, and Carmelo Anthony also options for head coach Mike Krzyzewski at those same positions, USA Basketball should have an impressive level of depth and flexibility in its frontcourt.

One noticeable absent is Kobe Bryant, the only 2012 Olympian to be excluded from the roster going forward.

“I saw Kobe [on Wednesday] night,” Krzyzewski remarked, “and he said ‘I’ll be there [in 2016], but you probably won’t wanna play me.’ I said ‘I’d always want to play you, but I understand.’” By the time the Olympics roll around, Bryant will be nearing 38 years old.

Krzyzewski and Colangelo both noted, however, that Team USA will not be at full, superstar-laden strength for the FIBA World Cup. James, Paul, and Anthony will not compete in 2014 by the program’s own choice, as Krzyzewski noted that non-Olympic competition is a prime opportunity for younger players. All three are nonetheless included on the program roster due to interest on both sides in their involvement for the 2016 Olympic Games.

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Krzyewski also acknowledged the possibility that players like Williams and Chandler — who have dealt with nagging injuries this season — may be off the board for 2014.

Regardless, the team should still be in good hands in the interim. Durant and Love have both publicly committed to playing in the FIBA World Cup this summer, while Colangelo said that Aldridge is also looking to make the 2014 team. Should Westbrook or Rose be healthy enough to participate, they, too might flesh out a roster that would enter the World Cup as heavy favorites. A hypothetical 12-man roster might include:

Guard: Curry, Williams, Westbrook, Lillard
Wing: Durant, George, Harden, Iguodala
Big: Love, Howard, Aldridge, Davis

Of the 2014 team, Colangelo said: “I think you’ll see at least six Olympians, but that remains to be determined.”

The 12-man team for the 2016 Olympics could take any number of forms, dependent on injuries, contract situations, and adjustment to the Team USA pool. This a working roster, but it’s not exactly iron-clad; USA Basketball has added and dropped players in the past to address certain needs and bring particular talents into the fold, and such movement will likely happen again before the final 2016 roster is determined.

“We have a fluid roster,” Krzyzewski said. “There are players who didn’t make this roster who are just on the cusp.” Among that next group are Greg Monroe and Jrue Holiday — two quality players edged out by the vast competition at their respective positions. Krzyzewski did note that there’s potential for Holiday (or another point guard) to slip into the pool if injuries start to become a problem.

Other notable players who competed in USA Basketball’s 2013 mini-camp who have not been included are: John Wall (Washington), Mike Conley (Memphis) Ty Lawson (Denver), Ryan Anderson (New Orleans), Chandler Parsons (Houston), Kemba Walker (Charlotte), Taj Gibson (Chicago), DeMar DeRozan (Toronto), and DeAndre Jordan (L.A. Clippers).

The following players have also been dropped from the roster since its last iteration (2010-12): Chauncey Billups (Detroit), Carlos Boozer (Chicago), Chris Bosh (Miami), Tyreke Evans (New Orleans), Rudy Gay (Sacramento), Eric Gordon (New Orleans), Danny Granger (Indiana), Jeff Green (Boston), Al Jefferson (Charlotte), Brook Lopez (Brooklyn), Robin Lopez (Portland), O.J. Mayo (Milwaukee), Lamar Odom (N/A), Kendrick Perkins (Oklahoma City), Tayshaun Prince (Memphis), Rajon Rondo (Boston), Amar’e Stoudemire (New York), Dwyane Wade (Miami), and Gerald Wallace (Boston).

19 comments
KevinM.Jessup
KevinM.Jessup

Correction, Hayward and Beal are shooting 41% fg on the season, while Korver and Matthews are shooting 47% however Korver is averaging 12ppg while Matthews is averaging 17ppg and both are at 2.5 3's a game. Why does he get overlooked?

KevinM.Jessup
KevinM.Jessup

One thing I don't get is the inclusion of Korver, Beal and Hayward. These guys are largely one dimensional and can't defend. Wes Matthews is as good a sharp shooter as these guys but he contributes in other categories too and is an excellent defender and is a big part of why his team is winning. Check the stats. Korver, Hayward and Beal are on terrible teams.

JohnFoxII
JohnFoxII

If I had to pick a 15 man team:


LaMarcus Aldridge

Anthony Davis

Kevin Love 

Blake Griffin

Dwight Howard 

Lebron James

Kevin Durant

Paul George 

James Harden

Carmelo Anthony

Chris Paul 

Russell Westbrook 

Stephen Curry 

Damian Lillard

John Wall


Would give you a healthy balance of youth and experience as well as athleticism and skill. With the differences in each players skill set, they would keep any team guessing. 


RobShelley
RobShelley

My team wouldn't be the same as my All-Star team. 


Frontcourt

LaMarcus Aldridge, Portland Trail Blazers*
Anthony Davis, New Orleans Pelicans

Kevin Love, Minnesota Timberwolves

Tyson Chandler, New York Knicks

Wings

LeBron James, Miami Heat

Paul George, Indiana Pacers*

Andre Iguodala, Golden State Warriors

Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder

Backcourt

Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors
Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers*
Chris Paul, Los Angeles Clippers

*Russell Westbrook/JJ Redick/Avery Bradley/Lance Stephenson/etc.


Left off some All-Stars like Rose, WIlliams, Anthony, Cousins, etc. Mostly because of their lack of D, selfish play, and (in the case of Anthony) being dominated at their position.


I would certainly take Wade if I had the chance. I'd also be tempted to switch Aldridge with Bosh.  

ShawnKemp2012
ShawnKemp2012

Huge dis to Demar Derozan.  I am a Raps fan, but I can say unbiased that this kid should be representing his country.  Hard worker, clean cut.  His game has improved drastically every year.  Sorry he plays for Toronto and gets no recognition for the work he's done.  I gotta say.  This is a real travesty.  

DSM
DSM

Why does the author not explain why DWade was dropped? Granted he may be too old/frail by 2016, but he deserves the respect of a mention.

Strongest roster ever--the 1992 and 1996 teams must have giggled when they saw that.

Shame about Hibbert. 

Coach K clearly did not like Rondo's game in 2010.And will he find Curry and Westbook too freewheeling and stick with his former player Irving?


Korver over Ryan Anderson? Granted Korver is a 3 and Anderson a 4, but can Korver guard anyone?


Key issue: will Spain lack the depth by then to give us a run and will Coach K finally have figured out why they gave us such trouble in the last 2 finals despite ahving at most 2 players who would make the US team?

hawkules
hawkules

Where the hell is Roy Hibbert?  Talk about bigs and you're missing one of the best defensive bigs in the game.  This coming from someone who bleeds Miami Heat Black

anotherlevelsports
anotherlevelsports

Derrick Favors not on there!  Ouch!! Faried, Drummond and Bad Teammate DeMarcus all ahead of Favs...i don't think so.  Also no John Wall, Chandler Parsons, Demar Derozan.....Some folks have some things to prove to other players and USA Basketball!.....http://anotherlevelsports.blogspot.com/

malboa
malboa

@JohnFoxIIAgree with most of yours, though to cut down to 12-man roster, would remove Damian Lillard, Blake Griffin, Aldrigde (I figure the 2016 Olympics will be the last for players like Carmelo and Lebron so younger players could get theirs in 2020 and FIBA championships for those that have not played/proven ready for the Olympics (Aldridge).


I could flip a coin on John Wall / Kyrie Irving.


Shame that with injuries, D Rose has to prove a spot on an increasingly deep PG position.

JasonLeBel
JasonLeBel

@ShawnKemp2012  " I am a Raps fan, but I can say unbiased" ... how can you unbiased?


Anyways, I'm a Raps fan, hope that they don't trade DDR unless it's for something really good. And I think that he shouldn't make the team.

ShawnKemp2012
ShawnKemp2012

i'm proud he represents Canada every night he wears that Toronto jersey.  Guess the American national team values other qualities - jersey sales, I'm guessing.  Pathetic.  

Joe R2
Joe R2

@DSM 


If you can't figure out why D-Flop Wade was dropped then you haven't watched basketball lately... Who wants to waste a roster spot on a guy that can only play every other day?

amccann19
amccann19

@anotherlevelsports Wall gets trumped by Westbrook (and possibly Rose if he's healthy) who is already a liability as too much engine not enough fuel economy....Derozan doesn't fill a role....we need athletes for defense, not offense (hence Iguadola) we need pass-first guards...after Paul, I like Irving....forget D Williams. We need bigs in the T. Chandler mold ...there is only one basketball.....PG CP3/Irving/Curry, SG  George/Harden/Iguo                                                        F Lebron/Durant/Melo/Alrdridge/Love    C   Anthony Davis, Drummond


J Diddy
J Diddy

@anotherlevelsports This isn't NBA 2k14. What can Derozan contribute if he isn't taking 25 shots a game? Not much. Wall doesn't shoot the ball extremely well (a theme you'll notice in international basketball--guards shoot and pass, not drive and dunk). 


Parsons doesn't shoot it as well as the other comparable wings on this list (Korver, Thompson), and doesn't offer the versatility of the others (Leonard, Hayward, Igoudala, George). 


While I like Favors, he isn't quite in the class of those other guys in terms of all around game. Probably most comparable to Faried, and isn't as offensively gifted yet. Say what you will about Cousins' personality (the worst is true), but he might be the most gifted basketball big (all around game) playing right now. He's a much better fit for international ball than Howard, so you have to at least give him a shot. He won't make the final cut anyway, unless Coach K works some magic on his attitude.

ShawnKemp2012
ShawnKemp2012

@JasonLeBel @ShawnKemp2012 I can be unbiased because I have watched and played a lot of basketball and I understand the game.  He is a good player that has made marked improvements every year. 


Maybe he doesn't make the team, but he should be on this list of 28 players.  

BrianDouthit
BrianDouthit

Parsons is about as versatile as you can get... 6'9 sf who can finish at the rim, shoot 3s at a high clip, pass, rebound, defend, recruit(lol), and is an ultimate glue guy. It would be tough for him to make the team but he certainly should have received an invite.

J Diddy
J Diddy

@BrianDouthitNo argument that he's a nice player. But he's not in in Leonard, Igoudala, Thompson, or George's league yet. Three of those 4 are likely going to be franchise cornerstones and all stars for years to come (George already is a superstar). Parsons is a nice piece, not a player you build a team around. 


You could argue him over Korver, but he doesn't shoot it as well (no crime there, because no one shoots as well as Korver). Looking at the roster, shooters are going to be harder to come by than rebounding and intangibles. You could also make a case for him Vs Hayward, but Hayward is a better ball handler and can play 3 positions, two of those being guard spots. Versatile guard play is also going to be more difficult to find than what Parsons brings.