Team USA's 1st Round of Cuts

         Team USA trimmed their roster to 15 on Wednesday, four days after minicamp finished in Las Vegas. The team cut four players: Tyreke Evans, O.J. Mayo, Gerald Wallace and JaVale McGee. Three more players must be released before the 12-man roster submission due-date on August 26th, two days before the World Championships in Istanbul Turkey. The US will likely make their final cuts after their training camp in mid-August in New York.

        Surviving the cuts are guards: Chauncey Billups, Stephen Curry, Russell Westbrook, Derrick Rose, Eric Gordon and Rajon Rondo. Rondo and Gordon are the two most likely to be left off the final roster with Rondo's inability to shoot from the perimeter and Eric Gordon being left out due to sheer backcourt depth.

        The forwards remaining are: Kevin Durant, Rudy Gay, Lamar Odom, Kevin Love, Jeff Green Andre Iguodala and Danny Granger. Granger missed some time during the minicamp last week and was originally competing with Andre Iguodala for a spot on the roster. Iguodala had a strong showing during the team's intra-squad scrimmage on the final day, living to fight another day. What hurts Iguodala is his lack of versatility and his poor perimeter shooting. Granger may offer more in the long-run with his ability to step outside to knock down shots, as well as score in the low blocks. Granger, listed at 6'8", is a career 39% 3-point shooter, while Iguodala, 6'6", is a 32% career marksman from outside.

        With the release of JaVale McGee, Team USA is carrying just two centers, Tyson Chandler and Brook Lopez. Chandler had a great showing last week and looks to be 100% healthy and in great shape.
With six guards and seven forwards currently still with the team, look for versatility to prevail. Billups, Curry, Westbrook and Rose should all survive the final cuts because of their ability to not only run the point, but play off the ball as well. Durant, Gay, Odom and Love are all locks, while Jeff Green, Andre Iguodala and Danny Granger will be competing for one of the final spots. Green has the inside track because he is a true power forward, who can also step outside to knock down shots and stretch the defense. Iguodala and Granger may be a toss-up right now.

    Team USA will meet back up in two weeks on August 9th for training camp. They open their exhibition schedule less than a week later at Madison Square Garden on August 15th against France.