Chris Haynes of CSNNW reports that Damian Lillard is “the player on deck” to rejoin Team USA for the 2014 FIBA World Cup should one of the 12 players on roster opt out or fall to injury. Lillard was cut from the team last week when the roster was finalized, but was in the conversation throughout his time in USA Basketball camp and exhibition.
The only two players on Team USA that have a history of significant injury are starting point guard Derrick Rose (knee) and starting shooting guard Stephen Curry (ankle). In all likelihood, Lillard is in this fallback position in case Rose cannot play due to soreness. It is both potentially fortuitous and disconcerting that Team USA’s most gifted rotation is its most fragile.
The chances that Lillard makes the team are still almost nil, since the tournament begins tomorrow and teams must submit their final roster 24 hours in advance of commencement. We shall soon see if cutting Lillard was the right choice for Head Coach Mike Krzyzewski. A guard injury after the deadline would be catastrophic, while electing to keep Mason Plumlee over Lillard to have five bigs raised a few eyebrows in the first place.