The final 12-man Team USA roster set to play in Spain for the World Cup of Basketball is taller than anticipated. Not one, not two, not three but four centers made the final cut. Anthony Davis, obviously. DeMarcus Cousins moved into lock territory as the process progressed. Mason Plumlee or Andre Drummond, sure. But both non-perimeter shooting big men for a team that wants to push the pace and an international tournament designed for the sleek and skilled?
USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo explained the decision for more size over another shooter or a point guard. According to ESPN, with four players 6-foot-10 or taller, this is the largest team to play for coach Mike Krzyzewski in five international events since 2006. That quartet doesn't include rugged power forward Kenneth Faried.
"This gives us an opportunity to do some things we haven't had a chance to do in the past," Colangelo said. "It's true that the preferred style of play [in recent years] has been going small, but you have to ask: Was that by choice or by necessity?
"Early on [this summer], we said it would be hard to carry four bigs, but that was kind of put on the shelf. Certainly there won't be any discussion going forward about, 'What are you going to do about bigs, what are you going to do about playing teams with size?' If Coach wishes to show a big front line, he now has the capacity to do so."
The time to play a big frontline will come against Spain in a potential finals matchup. Spain sports a frontcourt of Marc Gasol, Pau Gasol and Serge Ibaka. Still seems like Davis, Cousins, Faried, Plumlee or Drummond would suffice and thus allowing for Damian Lillard as a Derrick Rose-minutes hedge or Kyle Korver as a plug-and-play 3-point shooting threat.
Anyway, cannot argue with the previous results from the Colangelo-Coach K combo. Team USA can work any kinks during group play, which should be a stroll in the park. If the likes of Kevin Durant and LeBron James were on the team, small ball would be in full effect. They're not and instead the team went big. Obviously this group remains a big title favorite. We'll see if going large truly puts Team USA in charge.