Despite the tragic injury that Indiana Pacers All-Star Paul George suffered in a Team USA scrimmage on Friday, USA Basketball National Team Managing Director Jerry Colangelo and crew are pushing forward despite their fallen teammate. Colangelo announced on Tuesday the 16 finalists who will be fighting for 12 roster spots for the 2014 USA Basketball Men’s World Cup Team. Cleveland Cavaliers All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving will be one of those 16 players, according to the team.
Team USA will continue to get ready for the 2014 Basketball World Cup in Chicago on August 14. Kyrie Irving will be joined by Anthony Davis of the New Orleans Pelicans, Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder, Mason Plumlee of the Brooklyn Nets, James Harden of the Houston Rockets, Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors, Derrick Rose of the Chicago Bulls, DeMarcus Cousins of the Sacramento Kings, DeMar DeRozan of the Toronto Raptors, Andre Drummond of the Detroit Pistons, Kenneth Faried of the Denver Nuggets, Gordon Hayward of the Utah Jazz, Kyle Korver of the Atlanta Hawks, Damian Lillard of the Portland Trail Blazers, Chandler Parsons of the Dallas Mavericks and Klay Thompson of the Golden State Warriors as finalists for Team USA.
All 16 finalists will be involved in the 2014 World Basketball Festival, which will take place from August 13-17, and they will practice August 14 and 15 at the Quest Multisport Complex in Chicago in preparation for an exhibition game versus Brazil at the United Center on August 16. After the exhibition, Team USA will continue to prepare for the Basketball World Cup, which will go from August 30 to September 14.
Including George, who can’t play because of his injury, Bradley Beal and John Wall of the Washington Wizards and Paul Millsap of the Atlanta Hawks were the others cut from the Team USA roster. Wall was considered to be one of the main competitors for Kyrie Irving at the point guard position, but with him out of the picture Irving’s chances of making Team USA for the Basketball World Cup have gone from likely to extremely likely.
The Team USA participants will have a week off before they head to Chicago to fight for a roster spot. Kyrie Irving, again, stands a very good chance of making the roster after the cuts and injury to shoo-in Paul George.