F USA Basketball drubs France, trims Green, McGee from roster - Powcast Sports

USA Basketball drubs France, trims Green, McGee from roster

By Jeff Zillgitt, USA TODAY

NEW YORK — Team USA hammered France 86-55 Sunday.

That was expected. Memphis Grizzlies swingman Rudy Gay scored 19 points, Denver Nuggets guard Chauncey Billups had 17 points and after a slow start, Oklahoma City forward Kevin Durant had 14 points in an exhibition game that was a rout for the final 2½ quarters.

But the news coming out of the exhibition game just before the team left for Europe and the World Championships Aug. 28-Sept. 12 in Turkey was the roster going from 15 to 13.

Washington Wizards forward-center JaVale McGee and Thunder forward Jeff Green were cut Sunday.

"It's always difficult to have to pare down and make these decisions because each of these young men have given their time and energy to be part of USA Basketball," Team USA chairman Jerry Colangelo said. "The decision made was predicated on having less players to work with and play during the upcoming exhibition games which will help in terms of our final preparations."

The U.S. can only have 12 on its roster for worlds but will take 13 to Europe for three exhibition games before the event begins in Turkey. The U.S. will play Lithuania on Aug. 21 in Madrid, Spain on Aug. 22 in Madrid and Greece in Athens on Aug. 25.

Team USA begins world championship pool play against Croatia on Aug. 28 in Istanbul.

The 13 that will go to Europe: Durant, Los Angeles Lakers forward Lamar Odom, Gay, Minnesota Timberwolves forward Kevin Love, Indiana Pacers swingman Danny Granger, Philadelphia 76ers swingman Andre Iguodala, Dallas Mavericks center Tyson Chandler, Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry, Los Angeles Clippers Eric Gordon, Boston Celtics guard Rajon Rondo, Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose, Thunder guard Russell Westbrook and Billups.

On a team without much height, it is likely the final cut will come from the guard spot.

After practicing in New York last week and playing against France, it looks like three players — Curry, Gordon and Westbrook — are competing for two spots. A decision on the final 12 likely won't be made until after the game against Greece.

Team USA coach Mike Krzyzewski said he hates to use the word "cut."

"These guys are not cut," he said. "They're selected. They're part of a pool."

McGee had a sense of humor about not being selected. On his Twitter account, he tweeted the bad news — getting cut — and tweeted good news: "i saved a bunch of money by switching my car insurance to geiko...#TRUESTORY"

Durant remembers not making the 2008 Olympic team after his rookie season.

"I was around the best players in the world. I was a young guy, and I had to prove myself," he said. "I knew I was on the bubble. It was inspiration for me to keep pushing and keep working. It added to my fire."

It is a rare position for players. Seldom in their careers have NBA players been cut. Curry said the last time he was cut was his freshman year in high school when he didn't make the varsity team.

"I'm not going to put any extra pressure on myself and go out and compete against Eric," Curry said. "That's not what this about. We have to continue to support each other ... and whatever happens, happens. I'm not trying to treat it as a one-on-one against him."

Westbrook, who played just seven minutes Sunday and didn't check in until the fourth quarter, could be the odd-man out. Given its lack of size, Team USA needs shooters, and Curry and Gordon fit that role. With Rondo, Billups and Rose and Curry's ability to play both guard spots, Team USA has enough players to run the point. 

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