Blogtable: Tough Team USA call

Each week, we’ll ask our stable of scribes across the globe to weigh in on the most important NBA topics of the day — and then give you a chance to step on the scale, too, in the comments below.

BLOGTABLE: Free agent’s fine future | New coach who fits | Tough Team USA call

VIDEO: Get an up-close look at Kyrie Irving’s Team USA experience thus far

> You’re Mike Krzyzewski. You have some decisions to make. What’s your toughest call? Who do you go with?

Jeff Caplan, I can’t take my eyes off the five point guards: Steph Curry, Derrick Rose, Damian Lillard, Kyrie Irving and John Wall? How many can you put on the 15-man roster Coach K wants by the time camp ends? Four? Probably not. I’m guessing three. Unless Team USA assistant and Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau gives Coach K the wink to keep Rose off the team as injury prevention, I believe Rose is a lock. My second lock is Curry because he can swing over to the 2 and shoot the lights out of any zone defense. Now I have a real problem. Irving is a two-time All-Star and a $90-million man. Wall made his All-Star debut in February and is an $80-million man. Lillard is already an All-Star after two seasons and has ice in his veins. I think Irving is going to get the spot, but my choice is Wall. I really like how he’s maturing, both in his physical and mental game. He pushes the tempo, has consistently posted higher assist numbers than Irving and Lillard and shoots the 3 well enough, especially on this squad. So there it is, Wall gets my third and final point-guard spot.

Sekou Smith, That point guard group is as elite as it gets. Outside of Steph Curry, whose ability to knock down shots from anywhere on the floor is crucial in international competition, I don’t know that there any locks for the roster in this group. I can see any combination of three making sense for the final roster. And that means two All-Stars get left behind. Picking two guys from a group that includes Derrick Rose, Kyrie Irving, Damian Lillard and John Wall seems like an impossible situation, one that Coach K’s peers who will be in Spain would love to be laboring through right now. But this is about the best fits for this particular team and until we see them work through training camp, I don’t think we can jump to any conclusions about who fits best. If I’m picking, Irving and Lillard would seem to make the most sense based on skill-sets and versatility.

John Schuhmann, Who are the bigs on the roster behind Anthony Davis? There’s a reason why, with the addition of Mason Plumlee on Tuesday, the big position is the most crowded. There are no obvious choices (or any Senior Team experience) beyond Davis and all those guys have their flaws. Assuming Davis plays 30 minutes per game, you need guys who can bring energy in short bursts. So I would take Kenneth Faried and, yes, Plumlee. Those guys can make an impact a few minutes at a time and are more trustworthy than Andre Drummond. And I would seriously consider bringing a fourth big – Paul Millsap, in this case – for the first time since 2006. Millsap gives you the opportunity to put an extra shooter on the floor in certain situations.

Lang Whitaker,’s All Ball blog: To me the loss of Kevin Love is looming large. And with Blake Griffin out as well, I am very interested to see how the backup center spot shakes out. Anthony Davis seems to have established himself as the starter, but behind him do you go with DeMarcus Cousins or Andre Drummond? Or do you look for mobility and speed and try Kenneth Faried? If it’s me, I take Paul Millsap and pray Davis stays out of foul trouble, but if I’m in a pinch hope Kevin Durant or even Millsap can steal you a couple of minutes at the five.


  1. Karlo Garcia says:

    If I’m Mike Krzyewski I would take a gamble on Mason Plumlee a better pick & roll guy than Demarcus Cousins he had a very good season with Brooklyn Nets. Then Kenneth Faried with his rebounding offensively & defensively,energy.

    USA Starting 5
    PG:Stephen Curry
    SG:Paul George
    SF:James Harden
    PF:Kevin Durant
    C: Anthony Davis.

    PG:Damian Lillard
    SG:Kyrie Irving
    SF:Kyle Korver
    PF:Demarcus Cousins
    C: Mason Plumlee

  2. King tay says:


  3. c$ says:

    doesn’t matter USA is stacked. But this blog is ridiculous if you think that cousins is anything less than the best big in the world. cousins start, Davis energy back up. why wouldn’t you have it any other way? have cousins dominate and then bring Davis in to shot block all hopes and dreams to less finer metallic. boosshh merica. P.S. bring Faried in as #3 and lets bully our way to a chamionship.

  4. Official NBA says:

    Official Team USA Roster:
    PG/ Derrick Rose
    SG/ Paul George
    SF/ Kevin Durant
    PF/ Andre Drummond
    C/ Anthony Davis

  5. lbj says:

    Caplan, Smith, Schuhmann, and Whitaker, you won’t win any rings blogging tough decisions from USAB. You need to join the King in Cleveland. We will trade top-5 point guard Mario Chalmers and future Hall of Famer Norris Cole for the rights to you four.

  6. isaiah says:

    1. Curry/Rose
    2. Harden
    3. George
    4. Durant
    5. Davis
    USA needs size with speed this is the lineup for it.
    Curry i think is taller, Rose is obvi more athletic so that decision is on coaches

  7. aki says:

    I think rose and curry will be locked up

  8. Bruce B says:

    ANDRE DRUMMOND IS THE FUTURE CENTER OF THE NBA… I hope they leave him off this team so he can school every one of these bigs in the next few upcoming NBA seasons and make everyone question why he was left out

  9. kahlel torrence says:

    There is no way you take Lillard or john wall or kyrie irving check the tape kyrie irving is just as clutch as lillard if not more and john wall is a much better floor general than lillard

  10. harrythehawk says:

    Kyrie Irving is good looking? Not.

  11. The Kid says:

    Why not take all five PGs, especially since all of them could potentially be moved to SG in the international game anyway.

    PG – Rose/Wall/Lillard
    SG – Curry/Harden/Irving
    SF – George/Derozan
    PF – Durant/Millsap
    C – Cousins/Davis or Davis/Cousins (Davis would be slightly better as a starter because of his defense and shot blocking ability, but I have no real preference between the two)

    I would also bring either Klay Thompson or Bradley Beal as a precaution in case Rose gets injured considering his recent injury history.

  12. TROYBOY says:

    I don’t think there’s a bad choice at the point. Because other than the bigs, every player on this roster can handle the rock (probably better than most (if not all) of the players worldwide.

    I think at times our USA team are overcoached. I would like to see coaches let our players enjoy themselves. I’m not saying not to coach them. But most of the games I watched, they played nervous. They are the best in the world. Control the rotation but let them have some fun. I also think that they put too much on playing defense. I know that the world talent has caught up but these are NBA All Stars. Let them play loose. The one thing that the Original Dream Team has is their Killer Instinct. Some will say the world has caught up but look around and see the talent that we have. Would you take another team?

    To prove this. 1) Pick a team from this tournament or any league worldwide. 2) Compare them to the USA team 3) Put on your coach’s hat and see if any of these teams scare you. If you do find one then you have an argument.

    • lupin says:

      i disagree with the playing loose attitude. remember 2004 lebron, wade, anthony, duncan, stoudemire etc.. line up only bagged bronze

  13. Golan13 says:

    this is more like it.


    C – Davis

    • Peter Pan says:

      I see you have well considered three point shooting as well as compatibility in your selection… dripping with sarcasm

  14. TrayIsBoss709 says:

    Am I the only one that thinks Bradly Beal should be on this team?

    • Joseph says:

      I think so too. They need his shooting. Derozan wont make the squad and they dont need five bigs, at most just davis, cousins, and faried.

  15. Parad0x says:

    PG: Rose, Curry, Wall
    SG: Derozan, Thompson
    SF: George, Durant
    PF: Milsap, Faried
    C: Davis, Drummond, Cousins

    They should’ve invited Monroe instead of Drummond though.

  16. Peter Pan says:

    There isn’t a person alive who can shoot the ball as well as Steph curry can, he has to be a loc k on the roster. That doesn’t mean he has to start though. And I’d pick Lillard over Kyrie (much more maturity) add some defense, enter John Wall. I’d let Rose stay in the US of A only because I begrudge bulls fans having to watch him revalidate another year since he can’t go 10 games without getting injured.

    for the rest

    Paul George, Klay Thompson/ Harden
    Durant / Parsons
    Faried/ Millsap
    Davis/ Cousins

    Don’t really need more than 12, but hey let’s bring Drummond and Derozan just in case.

  17. Sop says:

    Drummond is a better choice than Cousins for this team.
    1. Cousins should not represent the USA. He’s still a major a$$hole who’s just slightly better at hiding it.
    2. Cousins is not a good, end of your rotation guy as his ego is to big.
    3. Cousins is a low post scorer not an energy guy off the bench, which the US needs and Drummond can be.
    4. Drummond is a better shot blocker and has better athleticism.
    5. Drummond is great in the locker room and open to coaching.
    6. Drummond’s game is very complementary to the star as he doesn’t need the ball to haul in loads of ORs.
    7. Drummond is quicker and can get out on runs better than Cousins.
    8. Drummond is the future of USA Basketball at the Center spot. He’s 3 YEARS younger than Cousins, way more explosive and needs help to develop his game. Yes USA should be focused on winning the tournament, but they also need to remember to keep an eye on developing future national team players. Pick Drummond and do both.
    9. Even though Drummond is 3 years younger than Cousins there is no conclusive evidence from NBA head-to-head match ups vs. each other or vs. Marc Gasol or Jonas Valaciunas who the better of the the 2 US centers is.
    10. Taking both is also an ok option, but taking Plumlee, Milsap, or Faried over the guy who recorded the 2nd most double-doubles in the league last year (Drummond) would be a huge insult. If it happened hopefully Drummond would get over it in 2 years by which time he will be the 2nd most dominant post-player behind Dwight and Colangelo will be calling about the Olympic Team.

    • Peter Pan says:

      I reject your first argument

      “1. Cousins should not represent the USA. He’s still a major a$$hole who’s just slightly better at hiding it.”

      If being an a$$hole slightly good ad hiding it does not represent the USA, nothing does

  18. magics says:

    Do you really think Lillard can shoot as well as Curry?? Lillard is a great player, but Stephen Curry is the best shooter in the league right now. I’m also sure that he (Curry) has made a better year than Harden, so my team would be:

    PG: Rose
    SG: Curry
    SF: George
    PF: Durant
    C: Davis

    Irving, Harden, Thompson, Parsons, Faried, Drummond, Milsap.

  19. runegood says:




  20. spa107c03a says:

    Why are people putting Harden ahead of Curry? Makes no sense, especially given the shorter 3pt line.

    PG: Rose
    SG: Curry
    SF: George
    PF: Durant
    C: Davis

    PG: Wall
    SG: Harden
    SF: Thompson
    PF: Parsons
    C: Cousins

    Extras: Lillard, Milsap

  21. Lillard Time says:

    Lillard should make it in over Wall and Irving. He has shown that he can play in the big games. he can also play the 1 or the 2, can hit the long ball as good as curry and he has ice in his veins.

  22. Lee says:

    Starting Line-up:

    Cousins/ Thompson/ Curry/ Harden/ Irving/ Parsons/ Drummond/ Lillard/ Korver/ Hayward

  23. redz says:


  24. nate says:

    Those of you on the east coast are sleeping on lilard. He shot the three almost as well as Curry and never forces anything unless its crunch time. He destroyed kyrie head to head last year. It was really clear who the better player was

  25. Mark says:



  26. Derek says:

    PG: Rose, Lillard, Wall
    SG: Harden, Curry
    SF: George, Parsons, Thompson
    PF: Durant, Faried
    C: Davis, Cousins

    I won’t be mad though if they left Rose or Lillard off so they could rest for the coming season. HUGE FAN OF THOSE TWO!!

  27. eX says:

    PG: Lin

    After making lakers fan happy,let’s be serious

  28. Scisca says:

    I always think that Kyrie wouldn’t be such a star and get such a fat paycheck if he wasn’t this handsome. I think his looks make him overhyped. No way he’s as good as Wall or Lillard. The guy has no D, he’s not a leader.

  29. Marcus says:

    why would anybody play Derrick Rose in the FIBA Games ? When he played 10 games last year preserve him he is fragile the NBA season is more important then the Fiba games he just needs to be smart what was his SAT score again ? That’s right somebody else took it for him.

    • kek says:

      Because playing in fiba would help him prepare for the nba season, if he cant handle fiba how on earth is a supposed to handle a 82 game nba season.

      • theholyspectator says:

        and if he got injured during the fiba? a collection of games that has no actually meaning? id rather him get hurt in an nba game then some world tournament.

      • Joseph says:

        How is he supposed to handle an 82 game season, plus an allstar weekend, plus 12 games of Fiba, plus maybe like 10-15 games of intense playoff basketball after he hasnt played more than ten games in the last 2 seasons? He is going to have to be rested and monitored.

  30. stlolkop says:

    There will be 4 point guards, no doubt
    Starting, Second team, players 11 and 12
    PG: Rose, Irving
    SG: Harden, Curry
    SF: George, Thompson, Derozan
    PF: Durant, Hayward, Parsons
    C: Davis, Cousins

    • The Truth says:

      1. Curry/ Irving/ Lillard
      2. Harden/ Derozan
      3. George/ Hayward
      4. Durant/ Millasap/ Faried
      5. Davis/ Drummond

  31. thespectator says:

    id send drose home or ultra limit his surprised the bulls even allowed this to go down…if this dude tweaks his knees during a tournament that has no meaning, well there goes another 10+ million for this dude for games that matters…as far as everyone else, who cares…usa gonna win regardless.

  32. kahlel torrence says:


    1)kyrie irving – All around play maker not a great defender but showing definite strides
    2)James harden- Can shoot from the perimeter can drive it gets hot quickly but a complete liability on defense
    3)Paul george- Can score but primarily should be used as ace defender
    4)Kevin durant- The opposing teams worst nightmare reining MVP
    5)Anthony davis- Can score but is also a rim protector

    Second unit

    1) John wall- He can score but I love the way he can run a team the only reason I dont have him starting is because he is a little offensevily challenged.
    2)Stephen curry- Can shoot the lights out there will be no offensive drop off when he enters the game
    3)Klay thompson- Also lights out shooter has great chemistry with Curry.
    4)Paul milsap- Strech 4 who defends
    5)Demarcus cousins- Has potentional to be best center in the NBA he needs to Keep His head right to be effective

    Then throw in Derrick rose to slowly make his comeback and whoever else yall want

  33. TaPeLoOp says:

    How about this?



    Drummond / Derozan

  34. ray says:

    I think ty Lawson should be on the roster

  35. My Team USA

    First Team:

    Kyrie Irving
    James Harden
    Paul George
    Kevin Durant
    Anthony Davis

    Second Team:

    Stephen Curry
    Damian Lillard
    Klay Thompson
    Paul Millsap
    Demarcus Cousins


    John Wall
    Kenneth Farried

    This team will undoubtedly be the best shooting team ever.

  36. Anthony says:

    I will like to know why is it that the LA Lakers do not have a player on team USA this year

  37. Max says:

    Can Coach “K” contain Cousins? Sure hope so!!~~~~ Curry a shew-in, love to see Faried on board. Since so many Super Stars are saying no to Fiba?? Hope the Young (except Durant) can deal with Spain. Marc Gasol will spell trouble, but brother Pau???Lot of health issues to contend with, before one can really say if he will be an advantage for Spain!!~~~ Hope the best for the US in the Fiba games!!~~

  38. TTKIN says:

    I agree that Rose and Curry should be locks to make the team. But to me, Lillard is the third PG who should be on the roster. Sorry but im not impressed by Irving. And until Lebron arrived, no one in CLE really believed he was all that great either. there were murmurs all over the place last yr of fans wanting him traded cuz he was a “ball hog” and wasn’t a team player.

    I love Wall’s game, it was basically a tie between him and Lillard. What put Lillard over the top was that Wall hasn’t hit a game winner that stuck a knife through a playoff series.

  39. Wow that’s a tough decision for coach ..we’re behind u all the way

  40. brock says:

    1st team
    SF-p. GEorge
    2nd team
    2extras – lillard, Kenethh

    • quincey says:

      U crazy if u think Curry or Thompson will play the 2 spot b4 James Harden

    • team usa says:

      1st team
      2nd team
      ext: wall-drummond

  41. J-Short37 says:

    I would say keep three, Curry, Lillard, and Rose ( who can play one and two in euro style play).

  42. Larry says:

    i hope Team USA gets destroyed in the WC, teams that play small ball dont deserve to win

  43. cp10 says:

    Ginobili!! 🙂