Kevin Durant is the star player on a USA basketball team that will look totally different from the one that won the gold medal in the 2008 Olympics. (Photo by Nick Koza)
Russell Westbrook, from Leuzinger High School and UCLA, might be a shoe in for the team. (Photo by Nick Koza)
By Tamara Latta
Sentinel Sports Writer
Las Vegas was bombarded with young talent last week, as the NBA rising stars tried to convince Coach Mike Krzyzewski that they have game just like the veteran NBA super stars. Kevin Durant brought his game all the way from Oklahoma City scoring 28 points in the final scrimmage game; he’s the only stud on the roster that has a confirmed USA jersey. All the other players are still on the waiting list, hoping to get an invitation to compete in the 2010 World Championship that will be held from Aug. 28-Sept 12 in Turkey.
Let’s take a look at my perception of who’s in and who’s likely out.
Russell Westbrook- He can handle the ball with care. He’ll get in your face and aggravate you on defense. They need a player like Westbrook who can offer benefits on both sides of the floor. Plus he’s Durant’s right hand man, so his status just went up.
Stephen Curry- How can you leave a player like Curry behind? He has major game, and can knock down shots with his eyes closed. Team USA needs a shooter like him; he can play shooting guard or point guard. He proved his ardent love for the game during the 2009-10 NBA season. You have to reward this young kid, I’m almost 100 percent sure he won’t let you down.
Lamar Odom- Odom is a versatile player and anyone that follows basketball knows that. You just can’t leave a back-to-back champ behind. Kobe Bryant approves this transaction; enough said.
Chauncey Billups- If he was left behind that would be disrespectful. Not only is he an all-star, he has the experience and a championship on his resume. The younger guards look up to him, so he will be a great role model for the youngsters.
Rajon Rondo- The best point guard in the league aka sweet feet. His speed will be a problem for their opponent; those players won’t be able to keep up with him. The good thing about Rondo is he can score around big players, it doesn’t matter he’s guaranteed to earn his money almost every game. I should also mention he’s become more consistent at his position.
Tyson Chandler- He will play security in the paint. His size and ability gives him the heads up for a spot.
Rudy Gay-He was the second impressive player in Vegas behind Durant. Gay is very athletic and can explode at anytime on the floor. He scored 23 points shooting 7/11 from the field. Still needs to work on his defense, but he will make the cut and be a huge asset to the team.
Derrick Rose- Didn’t really ring bells in Vegas, but his name has enough leverage for the thumbs up. He’s also another player who proved he can be a leader during the 2009-10 NBA season. He has what it takes to be a great NBA player in the years to come. Still young- but has the talent to compete on any given day.
Gerald Wallace- Was quiet in Vegas but because of his all-star debut this season, he may have a 50/50 chance of making the team.
Not So Sure:
Eric Gordon- I actually like Gordon on the roster but because of other talent, but he’ll more than likely be left behind. They can use his gifts but his inconsistency will keep him from making it.
O.J. Mayo- Another good candidate but because of inconsistency and other players his chance is very slim.
Andre Iguodala-Because of his size and explosiveness around the rim, his name will not be forgotten when the coaches make their decision.
Jeff Green- His athleticism may be able to overpower the coaches’ judgment.
Danny Granger- It isn’t looking too good for Granger right now, but because of his shooting ability he still has a chance to make it.
Kevin Love- I’m counting him completely out of the loop. Hasn’t showed any sparks on why he should even be considered.
Tyreke Evans- Completely sidelined because of a sore ankle, other than that he would have made the team with pride.
JaVale McGee- His size is appealing- but he’s too inexperienced for the gig.
Brook Lopez-What have you done lately? Nothing -so you will get to enjoy the rest of your summer break.