Five quick thoughts on USA Basketball’s final roster for the FIBA World Cup:
1. Some of the biggest basketball names — LeBron, Kobe, and The Kevins, Durant and Love — are absent from this tournament for various reasons. But it’s still a great way to get a high-quality hoops fix a few months before the NBA season begins, and the USA Basketball roster is hardly dull. Hell, I’d tune in to watch Anthony Davis, Stephen Curry and James Harden play a game of 21 or Knockout.
2. In the name of Paul George, here’s hoping the basket stanchions are placed as far away as possible from the end line. The tournament is in Spain. The baskets should be no closer to the end line than Morocco.
3. If you predicted while they were clogging up lanes together at Duke that either Mason or Miles Plumlee would be a worthwhile choice for a US team in a high profile tournament, you probably also believe Cherokee Parks belongs in the Basketball Hall of Fame. But lo and behold, here he is — Mason, that is — and while there may be some Blue Devils nepotism at play with Coach K running the show, he’s become an excellent NBA player.
4. Rudy Gay? There wasn’t a better choice to replace George than low-efficiency, conscience-free scorer Rudy Gay?
5. The championship game is set for September 14. Winner should have to play the remodeled Cavaliers the next day.
By the way, as first reported by Awful Announcing this morning, ESPN and NBA TV will have the tournament covered for your viewing pleasure beginning Saturday, August 30 and running through the Sunday, September 14 championship game.
Team USA’s full slate of games will air on either ESPN or ESPN2, beginning with the August 30 opener (3:30 p.m., ESPN) against Finland.
ESPN will televise 13 games in all, including the semifinals, final, and select quarterfinal games.
Here are the other Team USA matchups in advance of the round of 16:
Sunday, August 31: US vs. Turkey, 3:30 p.m., ESPN.
Tuesday, September 2: US vs. New Zealand, 11:30 a.m., ESPN2
Wednesday, September 3: US vs. Dominican Republic, 3:30 p.m., ESPN2.
Should be a fun tournament and a fulfilling hoops fix.
Seriously, though: Rudy Gay?