Gearing up for the 2014 FIBA World Cup in Spain, USA Basketball selected a wide-ranging mix of experience, youth, size, speed and shooters for its 27-man roster that will train in July 22-25 in Las Vegas.
The past two NBA rookies of the year — guards Kyrie Irving of the Cleveland Cavaliers and Damian Lillard of the Portland Trail Blazers — headline the list. New Orleans Pelicans big man Anthony Davis is the only returnee from the 2012 London Olympics gold medal team. And two of the breakout stars from the NBA playoffs have joined up: Indiana Pacers forward Paul George and San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard.
USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo and coach Mike Krzyzewski, who just committed to coach through the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics, always are searching for talented big men, and the roster reflects their concern about size in international competition.
Besides Davis, Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins, Detroit Pistons center Andre Drummond, Denver Nuggets forward Kenneth Faried, Utah Jazz forward-center Derrick Favors, Chicago Bulls forward Taj Gibson, Los Angeles Clippers center DeAndre Jordan, Pistons center Greg Monroe, Milwaukee Bucks center Larry Sanders and Cavaliers center Tyler Zeller also are on the roster.
Memphis Grizzlies point guard Mike Conley, with six NBA seasons under his belt, leads a smaller and still-young group of veterans. Pelicans forward Ryan Anderson and Jordan have played five NBA seasons, and Toronto Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan, Philadelphia 76ers guard Jrue Holiday, Nuggets guard Ty Lawson and Gibson have played four.
The 2012-13 All-Rookie first-team covers the youth angle: Lillard, Davis, Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal, Golden State Warriors forward Harrison Barnes and Cavaliers guard Dion Waiters. Zeller and Drummond were named to the All-Rookie second-team this season.
Also named to the 27-man roster: Jazz forward Gordon Hayward, Rockets forward Chandler Parsons, Warriors guard Klay Thompson, Charlotte Bobcats guard Kemba Walker and Wizards guard John Wall.
Twenty players have some kind of USA Basketball experience, whether it’s from the Olympics, select teams or Hoop Summit, and Colangelo has repeated how important commitment to USA Basketball is when it comes to selection national teams.
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