USA Basketball Head Coach, Mike Krzyzewski, and USA Basketball Chairman, Jerry Colangelo, have sent three players packing from Team USA Basketball camp in Las Vegas. According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, John Wall and Bradley Beal of the Washington Wizards were cut, along with Paul Millsap of the Atlanta Hawks. Portland Trail Blazers point guard, Damian Lillard, remains among the 16 players competing for the opportunity to represent his country in the 2014 FIBA World Cup.
The point guard pool now includes just Lillard, Derrick Rose, Stephen Curry, and Kyrie Irving. Coach K is anticipated to take only three point guards to Spain with him, so Lillard is still facing an uphill battle. While Rose and Curry have emerged as probable locks, Lillard’s primary competition for a roster spot (Irving) has a strong personal relationship with Coach K, dating back to their time together at Duke.
It is possible that, having sent Beal home, Coach K could push one of his remaining point guards to the shooting guard position, creating space to take all of them to the tournament. This might not be a half-bad idea, since there is a steep decline in talent at the wing after James Harden, who is almost guaranteed to start. A decision on this front is likely to be made prior to August 22nd, as camp wears on.
It was not entirely surprising to see Wall cut from the team, despite his talent. He and Millsap were late additions to the roster after Kevin Love and Blake Griffin withdrew from consideration. Since they were not initially included, their departures cannot be unexpected. The door is now ever so slightly more open for Lillard to snag a coveted slot on Team USA.