Team USA announces training camp roster
With the FIBA World Cup in Spain six weeks away, Team USA announced its training camp roster on Monday.
There is a gold standard again for the group that's headed by national team managing director Jerry Colangelo and coach Mike Krzyzewski, who led Team USA to gold medals in the 2008 Olympics, 2010 FIBA World Cup and the 2012 Olympics as well. This list of 19 will meet in Las Vegas for training camp from July 28 to August 1, then be whittled down to 12 for the final roster that will head to Spain. If Team USA wins gold at the World Cup, they'll receive an automatic qualification to the 2016 Olympics and won't have to take part in the 2015 World Cup.
Team USA is somewhat light at the point guard spot, in large part because Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook decided not to play for precautionary health reasons and Los Angeles Clippers point guard Chris Paul is not taking part. Both players are expected to be in the mix for 2016, and other players – such as the Washington Wizards' John Wall, as has been reported – could still be added.
Still, the reappearance of the Chicago Bulls' Derrick Rose will be a major point of attraction. The former MVP has played in just 49 games in the past two seasons because of devastating ACL and meniscus injuries, but appears on track to use the World Cup as the site of his highly-anticipated return. Oklahoma City star Kevin Durant became accustomed to playing without Westbrook for much of the 2013-14 season, and he'll look to lead this group again after setting a Team USA record for total points scored (153) in the 2012 Olympics.
What's more, Kevin Love finally has clarity on which team he'll be playing for in the future – at least in international play. The Minnesota Timberwolves forward is widely expected to be traded, but he'll focus on the national team challenge in these late summer months while the nonstop chatter surrounding his NBA fate surely continues. There are two new additions to this group: small forward Chandler Parsons, who is now a member of the Dallas Mavericks; and Toronto shooting guard DeMar DeRozan.
There are a number of other stars listed in the 28-man group announced in January who are not taking part, from the Cleveland Cavaliers' LeBron James (whose international career is likely over) to the Houston Rockets' Dwight Howard to the Portland Trailblazers' LaMarcus Aldridge and the San Antonio Spurs' Kawhi Leonard. That doesn't preclude them from being on the 2016 Olympic team, however, and Leonard specifically is known to still be in that mix.
"This group possesses outstanding individual talents, while also boasting of excellent versatility and varying amounts of USA Basketball experience," said Colangelo, who has seen USA National teams compile a 62-1 record since taking charge of the USA Basketball Men's National Team program in 2005. "I am also pleased about the addition of DeMar DeRozan and Chandler Parsons to the USA National Team and to the 2014 training camp. Both played well in last summer's USA Basketball National Team mini-camp and went on to record outstanding NBA seasons.
"The Las Vegas training camp will be the start of our preparations for the World Cup, so this is a critical time for putting in place the foundation required for this USA Basketball team to be successful like its recent predecessors. This USA team will have a special opportunity to become the first USA team to repeat as world champions."
FULL 28-MAN ROSTER
Point guards: Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors; Kyrie Irving, Cleveland Cavaliers; Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers; Derrick Rose, Chicago Bulls.
Shooting guards: James Harden, Houston Rockets; DeMar DeRozan, Toronto Raptors; Bradley Beal, Washington Wizards; Kyle Korver, Atlanta Hawks; Klay Thompson, Golden State Warriors.
Small forwards: Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder; Paul George, Indiana Pacers; Gordon Hayward, Utah Jazz; Chandler Parsons, Dallas Mavericks.
Power forwards: Anthony Davis, New Orleans Pelicans; Kenneth Faried, Denver Nuggets; Blake Griffin, Los Angeles Clippers; Kevin Love, Minnesota Timberwolves.
Centers: DeMarcus Cousins, Sacramento Kings; Andre Drummond, Detroit Pistons; Anthony Davis, New Orleans Pelicans.