There are 16 players left on the current Team USA roster after Monday’s cut down, with 12 going to Spain. The way USA Basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski likes to set things up there will be a regular rotation of seven to nine players (the guys who get most of the minutes), with room for three to five “specialists.” Those are the players who can be relied on for certain skills that could be needed in certain match ups.
Denver’s Kenneth Faried is one of those potential specialists.
“Faried has had a good camp” Krzyzewski told ProBasketballTalk during the team’s camp in Las Vegas. “He’s a rebounding specialist. He’s an energy specialist. So how does that fit in with the core group?”
Well enough to get past the first cut. And Faried told the Nuggets official site on Monday he likes his chances of making the roster going to Spain.
“I’m very high on my chances,” Faried said Monday. “I believe I left a lasting impression for the coaches to like me and make me part of the team, so I can help the U.S. bring home gold this year.”
The USA will go next in Chicago, then a few games and practices in New York. There is no rush for Krzyzewski and crew to make a decision, they don’t have to name a 12 until the day before the tournament starts at the end of the month.
This is going to be a small-ball, guard heavy rotation — Kevin Durant is adjusting to life at the four. But at points the team will need some bulk up front and that’s where the mix of Andre Drummond, DeMarcus Cousins, Faried and Mason Plumlee come in. All of them are not going to make the cut, but likely a couple of them do.
Faried certainly has the chance to be one of those guys — energy, playing fast and hitting the boards hard matters to the USA’s style in international ball. It still seems a little bit of an outside chance, but it could happen the way Coach K talked about him (the only guy that seemed likely was Drummond, but with a lot of practices left a lot of things are up in the air).