USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo told ESPN.com, on Aug. 21, that team officials, after initially weighing the prospect of announcing some roster moves after the U.S.’s 105-62 rout of the Dominican Republic on Wednesday night, will huddle late into the night after Friday evening's exhibition against Puerto Rico at Madison Square Garden to finalize the roster decisions that can be delayed no longer.
The players who aren't selected will be notified of their fates the morning of the Aug. 23, Colangelo said, with the rest of the traveling party heading directly to Europe on a team charter in the afternoon.
How many players will be cut Saturday?
Not sure. The U.S. currently has 16 players on the roster and Colangelo and Team USA coach Mike Krzyzewski are still deciding how many of them to take to Spain where they will train in Gran Canaria before heading Bilbao on Aug. 30. They may take 12, 13 or even 14 players depending on what happens in the game against Puerto Rico. Rosters have to be officially sliced to 12 for the World Cup until Aug. 29.
The main reason the U.S. is pondering hard what to do, is due to the recent play of Detroit Pistons center Andre Drummond and Toronto Raptors swingman DeMar DeRozan as well as the health of Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose.
DeRozan played 23 minutes --the second most behind Damian Lillard ‘s team leading 24 minutes --against the Dominican Republic. He finished with 13 points, on 6-of-9 shooting, six assists and five rebounds.
Drummond was just as impressive as DeRozan was. He scored 12 points in 16 minutes and hit the offensive boards hard, collecting four of his five caroms on that end. Drummond also recorded a block and steal.
Rose, who is working his way back from surgeries on both knees, had not practiced since playing 24 minutes and scoring seven points in Team USA's 95-78 exhibition victory over Brazil on Aug. 16. The exhibition game was Rose’s first game action since Nov. 22, 2013. He has appeared in just 10 games over the past two seasons due to injury.
"We're anxious to see him play tomorrow and get a feel for it," Krzyzewski said of Rose.
There is also concern about DeMarcus Cousins (bruised knee) health.
Kyrie Irving, Stephen Curry, James Harden, Kenneth Faried and Anthony Davis – all five started against the Dominicans – are said to be locks to make the team. Rose and Cousins, after his performance versus Brazil, will likely make the team as long as they are healthy.
According to USAB sources, Golden State guard Klay Thompson and Brooklyn Nets forward Mason Plumlee have become favorites of Krzyzewski.
So that leaves Dallas’Chandler Parsons, Atlanta’s Kyle Korver, Sacramento’s Rudy Gay, Utah’s Gordon Hayward battling DeRozan, Lillard and Drummond for the final roster spots.
Gay is an alumnus of the 2010 World Championship squad and has played ahead of Parsons in each of Team USA's two exhibition games. And Gay has played well. While not the shooter that Parsons is, Gay is more of a scorer, rebounder and is longer than Parsons. Gay also play either forward position.
It will be hard for DeRozan not to make the team after his recent performance and he has the ability to create his own shot.
Lillard will likely be out if Rose can go forward though he could still make the team if the U.S. remains concerned about Rose’s health. Lillard , at the minimum, will go with the team to Spain.
Korver and Hayward are shooters and if they make the team – only one of the two likely will -- , they will be the 12th man.
Drummond will likely have to have monster game against Puerto Rico to have any chance to stay with the team unless Cousins isn’t fit to go.