Posted by John Schuhmann
LAS VEGAS — The first phase of Team USA training concludes Saturday night with the USA Basketball Showcase, which will be televised on ESPN2 at 10 p.m. ET.
Team USA managing director Jerry Colangelo wants to cut the roster down to 14 or 15 players for the next phase of training, which begins Aug. 9 in New York. But the only thing we know at this point is that Tyreke Evans won’t be a part of that group. Evans has missed the last two days of camp with an ankle injury and is not expected to play Saturday night.
So there’s a lot on the line in this game, which will be played with international rules (10-minute quarters, shorter 3-point line, zone defense allowed). Only a few roster spots are locked up and it’s still very unclear who, other than Evans, will not be making it to New York.
“[We’re] still talking about 14, 15 going to New York, but the names could change a little bit, based on [Friday] and based on what we see [Saturday] night,” Colangelo said after practice Friday. “We’re giving everyone the benefit of the doubt. And if there’s any close call, we may even take an extra guy.”
So this will not be played like an All-Star game. Guys are competing for roster spots and defense is very much a priority in the minds of head coach Mike Krzyzewski and his staff. The FIBA World Championship is still five weeks away, but this game is a critical step on the way there for Team USA.
Here are the rosters…
|Chauncey Billups||Tyson Chandler|
|Rudy Gay||Stephen Curry|
|Jeff Green||Kevin Durant|
|Brook Lopez||Eric Gordon|
|Kevin Love||Danny Granger|
|O.J. Mayo||Andre Iguodala|
|JaVale McGee||Lamar Odom|
|Rajon Rondo||Derrick Rose|
|Russell Westbrook||Gerald Wallace|
With three point guards on the Blue squad, we can guess that Chauncey Billups will be used mostly as a two. And unless Derrick Rose is going to play 40 minutes, we’ll be seeing Stephen Curry playing some point for the White.
Here are what look to be the key matchups of guys who are likely directly competing for a roster spot:
Rudy Gay vs. Andre Iguodala
Jeff Green vs. Gerald Wallace
O.J. Mayo vs. Stephen Curry and Eric Gordon
Brook Lopez and JaVale McGee vs. Tyson Chandler
In case you missed it, here was Friday’s story on the three true centers. It’s very possible that all three will make it to the New York phase of training, but that only one will earn a spot on the final roster.
John Schuhmann is a staff writer for NBA.com. Follow him on twitter.