Final Thoughts From Vegas

Posted by John Schuhmann

Eric Gordon

Gordon's 16 points on Saturday probably weren't enough to earn him a trip to New York (Andrew D. Bernstein/NBA/Getty Images)

LAS VEGAS – The first week of USA Basketball training is over. And in two weeks, the team will get back together in New York. The story after Saturday’s Showcase was how in just five days, the team was able to establish both an identity and a core.

“I think we’ve really come together even more than I thought we could in these five days, while you’re still trying to do the selection process also,” head coach Mike Krzyzewski said.

In the next 24 hours, four names will be removed from the current roster of 19. Who will they be? Here’s an educated guess…

1. Tyreke Evans - An easy call. Evans missed the last three days of camp with an ankle injury, and he was the fifth point guard on the depth chart anyway.

2. Eric Gordon - Gordon shot 4-for-7 from 3-point range on Saturday, but he didn’t have a strong week otherwise. And when Krzyzewski was asked about Gordon’s performance, he was quick to point out that Derrick Rose got him the ball in a good rhythm. Jerry Colangelo’s quote about Gordon was also rather non-committal. With the staff very high on Stephen Curry and O.J. Mayo also shooting well on Saturday, it sounds very much like Gordon won’t be going to New York.

3. Danny Granger, Jeff Green or Gerald Wallace – None of the three played very well on Saturday. Granger had a big performance against the Select Team on Friday and is obviously the best shooter of the three, but the other two are considered to be bigs in a group where size is at a premium. Wallace played just 12 1/2 minutes on Saturday, which I’m guessing may have been because the staff didn’t need to see much of him, already knowing they were taking him to New York.

4. JaVale McGee or Rajon Rondo - Tyson Chandler is clearly at the top of the center depth chart, but Colangelo has said that he would like to keep all three centers (Chandler, McGee and Brook Lopez) around. Still, after Saturday’s game, he said “we have to determine whether or not we have space in the 15 to bring [McGee] to New York.”

Rondo had seven assists on Saturday, but didn’t really distinguish himself. Defensively, he’s exactly what Krzyzewski wants (a ball-hawk), but offensively, the other three point guards in consideration are better suited for the international game. And indications are that both Rose and Westbrook outplayed Rondo over the course of the week.

The only other player who could possibly be a cut is O.J. Mayo. But in addition to shooting well, Mayo played strong defense on Saturday. And it’s hard to see them taking both Gordon and Mayo off the list and leaving Curry as the only true two guard.

Lopez was practically invisible on Saturday, and he’s not a great fit for the type of team they’re trying to build here. But they’ve got to keep him around as insurance for Chandler. I wrote Friday about the possibility of taking just one center to Turkey, but the more I think about it, the more I think Lopez has to make the team as the 12th man. What if Chandler gets hurt in the first few games?

With Rudy Gay playing so well (he shot a combined 18-for-23 in last year’s and this year’s Showcases), it seemed like Andre Iguodala might be on the outside looking in when the final roster is selected, but Krzyzewski had the following to say about Iguodala, who filled the boxscore with 17 points, six rebounds and five assists on Saturday:

“He just had a great week. I think any of these guys will tell you he’s an easy guy to play with. He doesn’t need the ball. I told him right after the ball game right out on the court I thought he was beautifully efficient.

“He can defend. You need guys out there who don’t have to touch the ball long. He’ll be one of the key guys for our basketball team.”

That last sentence is an indication that Iguodala has a great shot of making the team, if he’s not on it already.

So here’s an up-to-date guess (which is very subject to change) as to what the final roster will look like…

Guards: Billups, Rose, Westbrook, Curry
Wings: Durant, Iguodala, Gay
Bigs: Wallace, Love, Odom, Chandler, Lopez

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John Schuhmann is a staff writer for NBA.com. Follow him on twitter.

41 Comments

  1. DC4U says:

    It is crucial for the young U.S. team to be able to win the gold this summer in Turkey with good defensive bigs that can both block shots and outrebound teams such as Spain, Greece and Argentina. The US team is deep in the back court, fast offensiveness and scoring, but it also needs depth in front court against slower-paced pick-n-roll opposing teams that almost never dunk the ball. Therefore, it is sugguested that Chandler and McGee make the final 12-player list for the gold. You can bet on them.

  2. Jose says:

    MCGEE IS THE BEAST!

  3. T says:

    The reports are that Gordon/Granger survived the first cut. Evans, Wallace and Mayo will be cut. The USA is trying to decide on an 4th player to cut. I think it’s between McGee and Green.

  4. Cosby says:

    I favor Rondo over Westbrook. Not only Rondo is better defender, he can keep his composure and bring leadership and maturity to Team USA in tough times. He is a high IQ point guard who will surely help any of the big men in the low post. Westbrook and Rose are like clones, the similiraties in their play won’t bring anything to Team USA.
    It’s up to Coach K to make the final cut, but I think all them were given enough chance last Saturday to prove themselves.

  5. John says:

    Eric Gordon is 100x better than Curry and Mayo. He’s better in every aspect of the game. @Pete: Please don’t compare Gordon to Mayo, Mayo is garbage. I would be absolutely appalled if Gordon were to be left off the roster.

  6. will li says:

    I would take Mcgee over Lopez,

    Lopez is soft and can not defend,when facing strong defence,his offence effieciencey is also questionable.

    Mcgee will be the next big thing

  7. Ryan says:

    Eric Gordon should make this team. He is a great shooter, plays well off the ball, uses his big athletic body to get to the rim, and he is a lock down on ball defender.

    Here are the 12 that should make the final roster.

    Rose
    Gordon
    Durant
    Love
    Chandler
    Rondo
    Mayo
    Gay
    Odom
    Lopez
    Billups
    Iguodala

  8. #9 says:

    I think da decision between westbrook an RONDO will be tough (i would pick RONDO haha) , i think RONDO has the best lock down defense on this team (he held rose to only 2 points when he guarded him) and he’s da best penetration passer in da lane 2 give da bigs easy points. Westbrook is great 2 but he brings almost a poorer version of Rose game like other ppl said in these comments. Anyways both should make it 2 NY to prove who fits da best with dis team in practice an international scrimmage games.
    MY FINAL ROSTER
    Guards:Rose,Rondo,Billups,Curry(I Haven’t really seen any clippers games so i dont know to much about Gordon skills,play great in scrimmage game though)
    WINGS:KD,Iggy,Gay
    Bigs:Wallace,Odom,Granger,Love,Lopez (mc gee should go to NY though to prove himself so more,he could cause problem with his athleticism in international play)

  9. ok lets get a few things cleared up. contrary to national belief this is a very important event for many reasons.
    1.this is the WC of basketball. other countries take this just a serious as the olympic basketball.
    2.if we win this tourney we automatcally qualify for the olympics & don’t have to compete to qualify in argentina next summer.
    3.most importantly we (USA) in not the number one ranked team in the world. if USA wins this tournament we’ll be #1 again.

    “Euroball””EuroStyle” these techno terms are weak. all int’l ball is NCAA sweet 16 ball w/grown men & more experienced and skilled players. they don’t do anything differently from what the elite 8 & final four. gotta run my 15

    pgs rose rondo billups
    sgs ai curry
    sfs kd gay granger
    pfs love mcgee
    cs chandler lopez
    *odom westbrook gordon

  10. Antoine says:

    For all those who worry about the lack of offense generated by our bigs…you do know that Lopez already has one of the BEST postup games in the league. Plus he just recovered from mono a bit ago, which explains his terrible performance yesterday. But then again it doesn’t look like Coach K and Co are looking for offensive production from the bigs.

  11. Daddy Tuck says:

    I’m sorry but the love fest with Steph Curry is just ludicrous. He’s a tweener who guards NO ONE. He will get killed in international competition. Plus we all know that Mayo has to have a volume of shots to be effective. Eric Gordon is a better scorer and defender than both. He shoots better than Mayo and can finish better than Curry. Plus he guards better than anyone on the team but Rondo. The only reason Curry is going to make the team is because Coach K has his brother at Duke.

    I was in Vegas and was told by 3 of the players that will make the team that it would be a travesty to keep Gordon off the team.

    • T says:

      @Daddy Tuck

      I agree w/ you 110%. I don’t see how they could leave Gordon off of the team either. He’s one of those guards that you need in FIBA play.

      He’s a very good shooter, plus he’s efficient. He doesn’t need a lot of shots like OJ Mayo. He’s not just a shooter either… He can attack the rim. He understands how to play team ball and won’t hesitate swinging the ball. He’s longer, stronger, more physical and athletic than both Curry and Mayo. He’s clearly a better defender than Curry and though he probably doesn’t pressure the ball as well as Mayo, he holds his ground better and is a much more versatile defender.

  12. Pete says:

    I do like Rondo’s defense. however, Westbrook brings pretty good defense and more size and scoring. It will be close between those two as to who gets cut, IMO. Rondo turned the ball way too much Saturday but I am assuming he would cut that down in a real game. The guards at both the 1 and 2 that have impressed me the most in order areRose(easily), Curry(versatile and a shooter), Westbrook(athletic defender), Mayo(shooter and surprisingly good D), Gordon (played well but will be cut, he and Mayo are clones0, Rondo(best on ball defender, see comments above), Billups,(looks slow but is on the team) I would take Rondo over Billups for the future but Coach K won’t)

    They need Grainger’s shooting/scoring. Hope he makes team.

  13. Chavezz says:

    Good, ive always hated rondo, how can u be a point gaurd and not be able to shoot from anywhere on the floor,, atleast westbrook n rose can shoot mid-range jumpers n FT’s,, rondo cant do either of those things.

    I think the starters will bee:

    PG- Rose

    SG-Gay/Durant

    SF- Gay/Durant

    PF- Wallace

    C- Kevin Love

    Reserves

    Gaurds: Westbrook, Mayo, Billups, Curry

    Forwards/Centres: Lopez, Iguodala, Odom

  14. Hogannnn says:

    1. Rose
    2. Gay
    3. Durant
    4. Wallace
    5. Love

  15. […] check out John Schumann’s thoughts about the roster over at NBA.com. By danielcooper22, on July 27, 2010 at 12:09 am, under Uncategorized. . No Comments Post a […]

  16. Tmac11333 says:

    No matter who makes the team, USA has a great shot. No, and I mean no one from the other countries that play in the NBA are playing this summer. Pau is out for spain, Dirk is out for Germany, AK47 out for Russia, Tony Parker, Diaw and Turiaf out for France. I don’t even think Ginobli is playin this year, and Greece doesn’t have big names anyway. Overall we have a great chance with whoever this summer. Next Olympics is a different story tho….

  17. G-boy says:

    damn, this is by far The USA team with the least of (offensive)talent in decades,
    I really think this team is gonna get into troubles with only one leader(durant) and they will have to perform on their best level if they want to make it to the final. I respect the choices of NBA superstars who want to get a well deserved rest, but with so little of real developped offensive players, they WILL have troubles making it to the finals.
    I’m pretty sure they won’t be dominating the boards, and there will be games where they struggle from down town, if Durant doesn’t step up then, they screwed against teams as spain,greece,china.

  18. laydo says:

    My Final rosters:
    PG: Billups, Rose, Westbrook
    SG: Iguodala, Gordon
    SF: Durant, Gay, Granger
    PF: Odom, Wallace
    C: Chandler, Love

    Back-up in NY: McGee, Curry, Green

    Lopez is too slow. USA up-tempo style is not quiet suit for him.
    Rondo is good at defense, but his shooting hurts too much.
    Mayo had a great game before, but his shot selection is not that good.

    McGee is a Chandler-type center. Lacks of experience but with good energy.
    Green is a bit like Odom, so I prefer Granger and Wallace.

    Both Curry and Gordon can shoot. While Curry can play point and Gordon’ defense is better.
    I like the Gordon’s patience when he’s handling the ball.

    • Law064 says:

      I can’t see how Gordon will make the cut Gay will make it over Gordon and Iggy is locked just like Wallace. Rondo might be the best pg of all of them but he’s not a shooter. He has to drive and in international play it’s no Defensive 3 seconds you can lay in the paint all game. Team USA will have a hard time this summer without the stars from 08. Think about it this roster is full of younger players, it’s their time to lead the US to gold. To that idiot that mentioned Dirk and Gasol playing for the US needs to kill himself, he never watched a high school game trying to make comments.

      • Rocket fan_believeit or not says:

        I do think that Granger is better shooter than Green and Wallace, altough Wallace is a better defender than the other two.

        I really Believe Rondo should stay, as one of the guys here said there is nothing that Westbrook can provide than Rose doesn’t do yet. Westbrook will be one of the elite point guards in the league in years to come but right now he does not have the leader type to guide team USA to win the tournament. Even with the fact that Rondo is not a great shooter he is (and don’t take it as an offense) a hunting dog on the defense. Please be aware that in previous years, Jose Calderon, Ricky Rubio, Manu, even Carlos Arroyo have been a big headache for the U.S. team in international competitions, team needs someone that can truly defend these veteran players (despite Rubio’s age he is way more expert on international competitions than the USA guards except for Billups).

        As for the wings, the 3 of them are excelent players that not only will give the leadership this team needs but also will be the ones that will bring the show to the table, these 3 are the most spectacular players the team has this time and it will be fun to see them play together.

        FIBA rules allow the players to be more physical, they can not be the doll type complainning girls that some of the greatest players in the league (I’m not talking only about Kobe) are. So despite the fact that Chandler is injury prone, he is the strongest among the 3 centers, the fight will be between Lopez n McGee anyway.

  19. faceart says:

    I agree with the Granger sentiments. He’s just too good of a shooter/scorer to be left off the team. And he’s versatile as a 3/4. Drop one of the extra bigs (Lopez, Chandler, or Wallace), add Granger, and I really like this projected team.

  20. Matt77 says:

    I think it’s a foolish gamble for Chandler to play in this event because he is so VERY injury prone. If he does get injured, it seems like he’ll likely be missing a big chunk of the season (based on how his past seems to have been), and then my Mav’s will be screwed.

  21. holdup says:

    i think they’ll choose rondo over westbrook or rose, the two are substitutes (not complements) to each other, while rondo brings lockdown defense to the table
    also imo g.wallace is a lock, the battle is more between granger and gay

  22. kenn says:

    SPAIN will win FIBA world championships,hands down. i’m a USA basketball fan but WTF is this line-up? it seems like Durant will be pouring 25ppg in this coming tournament. Pau will not play but it doesn’t mean that they’re not gonna defend their title. Marc could fill up the absence of his brother and almost everybody in their roster is NBA material. Dirk will not play but who are we kidding? China defeated Germany and Dirk was even there, shocked. They’ll not win FIBA. Greece is still good and i genuinely think they could beat this WTF USA team. I’ll tell you this, USA team will have a hard time this coming FIBA world championships.

  23. CALi-SWAG says:

    I think rajon rondo shouldn’t get cut he plays really great at his position but of course derrick rose deserves it more, but rondo is better than westbrook.

    • z312 says:

      I agree, 7 assists is nothing to frown about. Yes Rondo can’t shoot but so what, we’ve already seen the precedent set by Jason Kidd that an effective Team USA point guard can be effective without shooting. When J. Kidd did shoot, they were layups and we all know Rondo is a very good penetrator and will finish close to the bucket. On the contrary, Westbrook brings nothing to the table that this team doesn’t already have in Derrick Rose. You gotta go with Rose, Billups, Rondo, Curry as your guards.

  24. urowner says:

    kobe, lebron and everyone else choose not to play in this competion

  25. matt says:

    i think granger should be there because he is such a good shooter, its important for bigs to be able to score from outside in the international game, so he should be there over wallace. unfortunately for rondo, he has no shot and he wont be able to drive so he should be ruled out despite being one of the better defensive guards in the group. still think that the US has a good chance of winning, but i’d like to see my Aussies win it then we’d hold the men’s and women’s world titles

  26. Leopark says:

    Wade bosh and lebron are busy with their free agency and home moving now. Kobe is resting his injuries. Dwight just wasn’t interested. Pau and DIrk arent Americans =)) but they wont be playing anyway. Both are too banged up =))

  27. bubcus says:

    pau and dirk play for different countries. spain and germany.

  28. Mike says:

    Of the 3 forwards you have up for elimination, i prefer granger over both for the fact that he is a way better shooter than jeff green and gerald wallace.

  29. BenDover says:

    @buttman-you idiot, when did you ever see Pau and Dirk play for team USA? Pau Gasol plays for Spain dummy, not USA. and Dirk plays for Germany. (their homeland). if you didn’t know that, you’re an idiot.

  30. teamUSA says:

    what scares me about this team is i cant see the bigs guarding the spanish front court.

  31. buttman says:

    this team looks but.. wat happen to wade.. bron.. bosh.. kobe..pau..dwight..dirk where the hell they at

    • Johno says:

      pau and dirk are not american champ.

    • OZ says:

      … Pau Gasol is Spanish. Dirk Nowitzki is German.

    • Nick says:

      Do you even watch basketball? As the other 2 said they’re not American and secondly, all the players from the Olympic 08 roster are resting this summer out of personal choice…

    • Rocket fan_believeit or not says:

      Yeah, lets suport what this expert says and also Invite Andris Biedrins, Bogut, Bargnani and Marc Gasol to the team, we will definetly have a strong post up game…. c’mon man I won’t say anything rude because I want to believe you were asleep when you wrote this comment, but seriously you need to watch more actual basketball games… just because these players appear on NBA Live and you can move them from team to team it does not mean they’ll change their country of origin so you can be happy, even in NBA live they are listed in their respective country team.

  32. mbmorganjr says:

    The thing that scares me about that final roster prediction is that there would be no offense at all generated from the “bigs.” Maybe that would be okay in this case, but it would make me nervous for the team. I like the idea of keeping Granger over Wallace, but I’d expect Coach K to prefer Wallace.

    • RM11 says:

      1- rose, rondo
      2- billups, curry
      3- durant, iguodala, gay
      4- odom, wallace
      5- chandler

      the 11th and 12th spot will be between love, lopez, and granger
      i would cut lopez and bring the other 2