USA Basketball released 28 names to its initial roster on Thursday, the first step in a process that will ultimately determine who represents the United States in the 2014 World Championships and the 2016 Olympic games in Rio. Check out are the players in the running (H/T Ballislife):
Carmelo Anthony (New York Knicks), LeBron James (Miami Heat), Chris Paul (Los Angeles Clippers), Deron Williams (Brooklyn Nets), Tyson Chandler (New York Knicks), Anthony Davis (New Orleans Pelicans), Kevin Durant (Oklahoma City Thunder), James Harden (Houston Rockets), Andre Iguodala (Golden State Warriors), Kevin Love (Minnesota Timberwolves), Russell Westbrook (Oklahoma City Thunder), Dwight Howard (Houston Rockets), Blake Griffin (Los Angeles Clippers), Stephen Curry (Golden State Warriors), Derrick Rose (Chicago Bulls), LaMarcus Aldridge (Portland Trail Blazers), Bradley Beal (Washington Wizards), DeMarcus Cousins (Sacramento Kings), Andre Drummond (Detroit Pistons), Kenneth Faried (Denver Nuggets), Paul George (Indiana Pacers), Gordon Hayward (Utah Jazz), Kyrie Irving (Cleveland Cavaliers), Kyle Korver (Atlanta Hawks), David Lee (Golden State Warriors), Kawhi Leonard (San Antonio Spurs), Damian Lillard (Portland Trail Blazers), Klay Thompson (Golden State Warriors)
Following the announcement, USA Basketball Chairman Jerry Colangelo gave his take on what this means in the bigger scheme of things.
“This is the first step of building the USA Basketball National Team pool of players for 2014-16. This roster is extremely talented, deep and versatile,” said Colangelo. “We are very fortunate to have 11 of the 12 members who won gold at the London Olympics wanting to be part of the national team program again. To receive that kind of commitment is remarkable and it demonstrates how much it means to our players to represent USA Basketball and their country.
“Continuity and familiarity with international basketball are critical parts in our success, and between our coaching staff and these 28 players we certainly have that. Every one of the selected players has been involved in USA Basketball previously and that speaks to how well our pipeline is working. Because of injuries and circumstances that will develop where players won’t be able to participate, we know we need flexibility with the roster and as we did in 2006-08 and 2010-12, the pool of players will be fluid, so you will see the addition of players as they emerge and as they are needed,” continued Colangelo.
“Our first challenge will be the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup that is being held in Spain. With 24 teams competing for the world title, including host Spain who we have had memorable games against in the last two Olympic gold medal games, we know it will be a challenge to repeat as world champions. In the history of the FIBA World Championships/World Cup, only Brazil (1959 and 1963) and Yugoslavia (1998 and 2002) have won back-to-back titles, so repeating will not be easy and is a challenge we look forward to.”