Damian Lillard was among the players that did not play in Team USA’s 112-86 victory over Puerto Rico today. Other Team USA players to receive 0 minutes include DeMar DeRozan, Andre Drummond, and Gordon Hayward—all potential candidates to be cut in the coming days. This is disappointing, but less than surprising. Prior to the game, New York Post journalist Tim Bontemps listed Lillard as a probable jettison.
After being around the team this week, seems like Lillard, Drummond, Hayward will likely be the first three cuts.
— Tim Bontemps (@TimBontemps) August 21, 2014
This does not necessarily mean that Lillard’s departure is a sure thing. As Team USA Head Coach Mike Krzyzewski stated previously, “You never play 16 guys in a game”. Regardless of Coach K’s intentions with Lillard, he needs to examine other players too. Sitting Lillard, DeRozan, Drummond, and Hayward allowed him to get a last look at other players of questionable fate such as Klay Thompson, Kyle Korver, Chandler Parsons, and Mason Plumlee.
We will know whether or not Lillard makes the final cut very soon. All rumors seem to indicate that cuts are coming this weekend, and four players must be let go before Team USA departs for the 2014 FIBA World Cup in Spain. With the team moving their training overseas on Sunday (8/24), and no more exhibition games until Tuesday (8/26), there are no more opportunities for Lillard to sway Coach K’s decision. We will know what it is in short order.