The Chicago Bulls‘ Derrick Rose will seek to make his critics ‘eat their words’ when he suits up for Team USA during their training camp in Las Vegas, but he will do so against stiff competition at the point guard position.
Ninteen players, five at PG, will compete for 12 FIBA World Cup roster spots. It is unclear how many point guards will make the team, but it will likely be three. Rose’s challenger’s include Stephen Curry, Damian Lillard, Kyrie Irving and John Wall, but Rose’s path became slightly easier when Russell Westbrook dropped out of consideration. One thing they all have in common is NBA All-Star experience.
Rose is still on the fast track to make the team, as he and Curry are the only two point guards to have participated in the FIBA 2010 World Championships where they received a gold medal. Rose’s previous FIBA experience will factor largely into Jerry Colangelo‘s and coach Mike Krzyzewski‘s decision.
First, Rose will have to show that he is completely healthy after sitting out the majority of last season for the Bulls with a torn meniscus. Rose will be full-go and will not have any restrictions during the camp, but it will be a good measuring bar to see exactly where Rose is at physically.
Curry is essentially a lock to make the team–as he is one of the NBA’s best shooters and has USA basketball experience. Curry will see a larger role than he saw in 2010 and can play both backcourt positions. It’s hard to believe, but at 26 years old, Curry will be the veteran of the point guards.
Wall, who was a late addition to the squad, likely won’t make the team. Wall’s game is similar to Rose’s–both are extremely athletic, aggressive, defend well and finish around the basket. With that being said, if Rose makes the team, Wall likely won’t.
The last point guard spot will come down to Irivng or Lillard. Both player’s games are similar, as Lillard is a slightly better three-point shooter, connecting on 39 percent of his shots from behind the arc while Irving shot 36 percent. Both are below average defenders, but are well-suited for FIBA basketball because of their shooting ability. Irving does have the Duke connection, but the final decision will be a matter of preference.
If Rose shows he is able to hold his own against elite competition, it will bode well for Team USA, the Bulls and Rose’s confidence headed into the NBA season after the World Cup concludes in mid-September.