Team USA has to trim its roster down to 12 prior to the start of the World Championships. They open up on August 26th in Istanbul against Croatia, and two days before that is when they have to submit their final 12-man roster.
Steps were made in the roster trimming process as Team USA is now down to 15-players after four guys were cut from the team just a few days after the Blue/White Scrimmage.
Tyreke Evans, OJ Mayo, JaVale McGee, and Gerald Wallace were let go by Team USA on Wednesday.
Evans being cut came as no surprise following his ankle injury that kept him out of multiple practices and the intrasquad game. Evans was the NBA’s Rookie of the Year this past season, but he will not be representing the United States at the World Championships. Even at full strength, I can’t say that Evans was necessary to this team with the quantity of guards on this roster.
In a surprising move, Mayo was cut from the team after a very solid showing in the scrimmage. From what I heard, he looked sluggish in practice, but he looked strong in the scrimmage with 18 points and 7 rebounds while shooting 3/6 from beyond the ark.
At the very least, I expected to see Mayo last a bit longer on the USA squad after that kind of solid performance.
McGee seemed to have a good shot at making the team after Amare Stoudemire and David Lee had to pull out. McGee looked pretty good in the scrimmage from what I saw, and he brought a unique skill-set to a team that is lacking inside play.
I expect good things in the future of McGee playing center for the Wizards with John Wall running the show at point. He should thrive with Wall being able to throw him lob passes and such in Washington.
Wallace’s cut came as no surprise following his poor performance in the scrimmage where he didn’t record a rebound and shot 0/4 from three in a little over 12-minutes of action. Coming in, I expected Wallace to be one of the final twelve for Team USA after his best statistical season in the NBA. He averaged 18/10 and made his first All Star appearance in 2010.
Three cuts still have to be made before Team USA opens up play in Istanbul and it’s tough to see who is going to be cut in the future. There are many players on the chopping block.
I would say the players that are probably safe are Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry, Chauncey Billups, Rudy Gay, Andre Inguodala, Lamar Odom, Kevin Love, and Brook Lopez.
That leaves seven guys fighting it out for the final four spots. If I had to make a guess as to who was going to get cut between now and the August 24th deadline, they would be: Jeff Green, Danny Granger, and Russell Westbrook.
The only reason Westbrook would be cut is because I can’t see the team carrying four point guards and I think the other three bring a little bit more to the table. If not Westbrook, then I would probably say Rondo will be the odd man out.
You could probably expect the current 15-man roster to stay until at least after Team USA’s first two exhibition games against Lithuania and Spain. I expect after the August 22nd game against Spain is when the final cuts will be made and the final 12-man roster will be set.