Damian Lillard played under two minutes in Team USA’s 95-78 exhibition victory against Brazil on Saturday. He took no shots, completed no assists, and accrued no other statistics whatsoever. This is somewhat concerning as the next round of cuts approach, but it is not necessarily damning.
Derrick Rose and Stephen Curry started at point guard and shooting guard respectively, while Kyrie Irving came in at point guard off the bench. It is entirely possible that Head Coach Mike Krzyzewski keeps Curry at the 2 and makes room to bring Lillard along as the third option at the 1, right behind Irving.
Granted, this would mean a small role for Lillard, barring injury, but it is better than not making the team at all, which could still happen. Expect Lillard to receive more minutes moving forward. There is a good chance that Rose was kept on the floor a little extra since the game was held in Chicago. If that was the case, a significant chunk of Lillard’s fleeting minutes may have been a onetime casualty.
It is also important to keep in mind that this game was preliminary. The actual 2014 FIBA World Cup tournament begins on August 30th. Any games played before everyone heads to Spain provide time for coaches to experiment with different lineups. It could be that we see Lillard get the nod directly behind Rose when Team USA hosts the Dominican Republic in the Madison Square Garden on August 20th.