John Wall always faced an uphill climb to make Team USA’s World Cup roster over his personal rival, Kyrie Irving.
Unlike Irving, Wall didn’t make the initial American player pool.
Unlike Irving, Wall didn’t play for the national U18 team.
Unlike Irving, Wall didn’t play for Team USA coach Mike Krzyzewski in college.
In the end, it was too much for Wall to overcome. He’s one of Team USA’s first set of cuts, a list that also includes Wizards teammate Bradley Beal and Hawks forward Paul Millsap, another late addition to the player pool.
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:
The roster is now down to 15 players.
- DeMarcus Cousins (Sacramento Kings)
- Stephen Curry (Golden State Warriors)
- Anthony Davis (New Orleans Pelicans)
- DeMar DeRozan (Toronto Raptors)
- Andre Drummond (Detroit Pistons)
- Kevin Durant (Oklahoma City Thunder)
- Kenneth Faried (Denver Nuggets)
- James Harden (Houston Rockets)
- Gordon Hayward (Utah Jazz)
- Kyrie Irving (Cleveland Cavaliers)
- Kyle Korver (Atlanta Hawks)
- Damian Lillard (Portland Trail Blazers)
- Chandler Parsons (Dallas Mavericks)
- Derrick Rose (Chicago Bulls)
- Klay Thompson (Golden State Warriors)
And by position:
- Point guard: Kyrie Irving, Derrick Rose, Stephen Curry, Damian Lillard
- Shooting guard: James Harden
- Small forward: Kevin Durant, Chandler Parsons, Gordon Hayward, Kyle Korver, Klay Thompson, DeMar DeRozan
- Power forward: Kenneth Faried
- Center: Anthony Davis, Andre Drummond, DeMarcus Cousins
Rough prediction: The final cuts will be Faried, Thompson and DeRozan to get the roster down to 12. But I don’t think Jerry Colangelo stops there. Select-team center Mason Plumlee – another former Duke player under Krzyzewski – is probably the favorite over Cousins.
That would leave Team USA with plenty of talent, the ability to play three-guard lineups and enough small-ball fours. It’s a heck of a team when Wall, Beal and Millsap are relatively easy cuts.
The next trimmings shouldn’t be so straightforward.