Posted by John Schuhmann
USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo and head coach Mike Krzyzewski announced the 15 names that have been invited to participate in the next phase of training camp, which begins Aug. 10 in New York.
Four names have been eliminated from the 19 that finished camp in Las Vegas last week. They are Tyreke Evans, O.J. Mayo, JaVale McGee and Gerald Wallace.
Evans was the only real obvious cut, having missed the last two days of practice and Saturday’s USA Basketball Showcase with an ankle injury. He was also the least experienced of five point guards in camp.
The other three cuts were much tougher to call. And clearly, they were tough to make for the USA Basketball staff. Colangelo said after Saturday’s game that the decisions would be made by Monday, but he took two extra days to decide who would be the four.
Mayo comes as a bit of a surprise. Both he (7-for-12, 3-for-6 from 3-point range) and Eric Gordon (5-for-10, 4-for-7) shot well in Saturday’s Showcase, but Mayo seemed a bit more active defensively and both Colangelo and Krzyzewski were non-committal about Gordon in their post-game comments. Yet it’s Gordon who made the cut.
McGee was a long shot to make the team from the start. With the Knicks pulling Amar’e Stoudemire off the team and Robin Lopez deciding not to participate, McGee was a last-minute addition at the start of camp. He had moments of brilliance last week, but is probably too inexperienced and inconsistent to be relied upon on the international stage at this point in his career.
Given just 12:27 of playing time (second fewest among the 18 players), Wallace didn’t get much of an opportunity to show what he could do on Saturday. But apparently, the staff had already seen enough. He seemed to be in direct competition with Jeff Green and Kevin Love in the group of big forwards who will be spending some time playing the five.
So here is the remaining 15-man roster, which will need to be cut down to 12 by Aug. 26.
Guards: Chauncey Billups, Stephen Curry, Eric Gordon, Rajon Rondo, Derrick Rose, Russell Westbrook
Wings: Kevin Durant, Rudy Gay, Danny Granger, Andre Iguodala
Big forwards: Jeff Green, Kevin Love, Lamar Odom
Centers: Tyson Chandler, Brook Lopez
At this point, the only player above clearly on the bubble to make the final roster is Lopez, who showed up for camp out of shape, having dealt with a bout of mono earlier in the summer. Impressed with Lopez’s desire to keep playing, Colangelo was willing to give the Nets’ center another shot. But Lopez will really have to turn things around in New York to make the team.
“He knows he has an awful lot to show in New York to be under consideration,” Colangelo said.
Colangelo added that the staff was unaware of Lopez’s illness before camp started, but Lopez had talked about it with reporters at Avery Johnson’s introductory press conference on June 15.
Beginning Aug. 10, the U.S. will hold seven days of training in New York. It includes an exhibition against France on Sunday, Aug. 15 (1 p.m. ET, ESPN2). On Aug. 16, the team will depart for Madrid, where they will train for a few days and play exhibition games against Lithuania (Aug. 21, 3 p.m. ET, NBA TV) and Spain (Aug. 22, 3 p.m. ET, NBA TV). After that, they’ll travel to Athens for their final exhibition against Greece (Aug. 25, 12 p.m. ET, ESPN).
The World Championship begins on Aug. 28 in Turkey. The U.S. will play five preliminary games over six days in Istanbul, and would probably need to only win two of them to advance to the 16-team, single-elimination tournament (also held in Istanbul). The gold medal game takes place Sept. 12.
John Schuhmann is a staff writer for NBA.com. Follow him on twitter.