This week USA Basketball has gathered in Las Vegas for a four day mini training camp to take a look at 28 of the best young talent America has to offer in preparation for Next summer’s World Cup in Spain. Coach K and the rest of his staff have to pick 12 players from a very deep pool that actually consist of almost 50 players including last summers gold medal winning team from the London Olympics. Anthony Davis is the only member from that team in Vegas this week. Needless to say Coach K has a very difficult task on his hand but never fear, I’m here to help him make this decision by giving my thoughts on who next summer’s 12 should be.
Kevin Love- Love accompanied Durant and offered the same commitment so it’s safe to say he’s a lock.
Russell Westbrook- Durant also announced that he expects Westbrook to play if healthy and I would agree. He has to on a reserve role in the last two international competitions and he would have the chance to be one of the leaders in Spain. Don’t think he would pass on the opportunity.
James Harden- Durant said he expects Harden to commit to Spain as well and I believe he will. Last summer Harden played 11th man in London, next summer he probably would return to a familiar role as 6th man and key contributor. What a difference a year makes.
Derrick Rose- In an interview on Tuesday Coach K spoke on selecting a team out of the 28 at camp and he said that he also had to consider guys who are not at the camp but are apart of the pool. One of these guys is Rose. Coming off a knee injury Rose will look to return to the top of the league and if successful I could see him as the starting PG on next summer’s team with Westbrook next to him in the back court.
Stephen Curry- Curry is another one of those guys who isn’t at camp but is apart of the pool and his shooting would be needed in Spain. Curry’s recent rise in popularity makes him a must have for next summer.
Anthony Davis- With six spots given to people not at the camp Davis might be one of two locks at Vegas. He gained a lot of experience playing in the Olympics last year as a rookie and playing in next year’s World Cup would just be the next step in a plan to position Davis as America’s big man of the future.
Kyrie Irving- Irving is probably in the same position as Davis in that he is also probably a lock to make the team because it’s been widely expressed that Irving is the Future PG of the USA. This will be great preparation in his ascension to starting PG in 2020.
Paul George- Many people will agree that after James, Durant, and Anthony. Paul George is the next best small forward in the league. James and Anthony have both played in three Olympics and it might be time to pass the torch. George is there to grab it.
DeMarcus Cousins- It was made public that last summer Cousins had words with the head of USA basketball, Jerry Colangelo. Well Colangelo swallowed his pride and invited Cousins back to camp this summer. That says a lot for Cousin’s talent. Arguably the most talented big man in America, Cousins has a lot of maturing to do and if successful he could be a very valuable piece on next summer’s team.
Harrison Barnes- Barnes is very unselfish and sometimes passive. You will need this type of guy to be your 11th or 12th man. He also is very talented and versatile. Extremely athletic and can shoot from the outside well. He also played some power forward for Golden St. and can play that position well in international competition.
Kawhi Leonard- Leonard decided to sit out the camp due to playing a long season but he is still in the mix. Leonard’s value on the team could come as a designated defender. He has the ability to guard four different positions in international play. Coach K could call on Leonard to slow down any individual who gets a hot hand.