Thanks to the hard work and dedication of Managing Director Jerry Colangelo and Head Coach Mike Krzyzewski, playing for USA Basketball has become cool again.
Due to this, there is an overwhelming amount of talent among the 19 players invited to the Las Vegas based training camp. This inevitably will make the task of cutting these 19 players down to 12 for the final roster a difficult one.
Let’s take a look at the 19 players currently in Vegas and see what Klay’s odds are to make the team.
Curry faces some tough competition at the deep point guard position. However his shooting touch makes him extremely dangerous in international play, as the 3-point line is about a foot a half closer than the NBA line. This gives him a leg up on all other point guards. It also doesn’t hurt that he’s played under Coach K previously at the 2010 FIBA World Championship.
When choosing how to build this team, the coaching staff will must consider a player’s versatility, but also what they do best. Specialists typically make the roster to provide a specific value to the team. In the 2012 Olympics, Carmelo Anthony was the de-facto closer as the sixth man. There’s been some speculation that James Harden will perhaps be the sixth man and provide instant offense, similar to his Oklahoma City days. He’s easily the most offensively talented shooting guard and will get significant playing time in the FIBA championships.
Thompson and Kyle Korver are the two best spot up shooters on the roster, making them very valuable assets to the team. Korver and Thompson showcased their skills when they had a 3- point contest at the end of one of the practices. As a catch and shoot specialist I believe Korver will lay claim to a roster spot.
I also believe Klay is the best defender out of the guards on the roster. Klay’s two-way ability should provide enough separation from the other guards and allow him to secure a roster spot. Hayward and Beal are also very solid players in their own right, but don’t provide a specific trait that makes them stand out from the bunch. However, Beal is a worse defender than Thompson and is an inferior shooter to both Thompson and Korver. DeRozan is an explosive athlete who can get to the rim and finish. I think he’ll fit in well with Coach K’s up-tempo attack and be the last guard to make the team.
If I were to place bets on the final roster selected, here’s who I’d go with: Stephen Curry, Anthony Davis, Kevin Durant, Paul George, James Harden, Kyrie Irving, Kyle Korver, Chandler Parsons, Mason Plumlee, Derrick Rose, and Klay Thompson.
The USA Men’s National Basketball Team will scrimmage in a nationally televised tonight at 6 PM Pacific Time on ESPN. The scrimmage may go a long way in determining a few of the final roster spots. Stay tuned.