After Team USA played the first of its four exhibition games in the lead up to the FIBA World Championships, it appears that the Raptors' DeMar DeRozan may already be a fringe bet at best to make the Men's National team.
On Saturday, Team USA played Brazil at the United Centre in Chicago. They won the game handily, 95-78, but the bigger story was who didn't play.
As Stephen Brotherston reports at Probballreport.com:
DeMar DeRozan, Andre Drummond, Gordon Hayward and DeMarcus Cousins didn't see a second of court time as DNP-CD. Except for Cousins who was resting a (hopefully) minor injury, not playing in these friendly exhibition games leading up to the tournament in Spain does not bode well for making the team.
(FYI you can check out the complete box score here.)
All in all, Brotherston's take is pretty mild. There's only so many minutes in a game to go around, right? When you've got to choose between a panoply of talented guards, including All-Star James Harden and smooth shooting Klay Thompson, it can be a tough decision for any coach, even one as well-regarded as Mike Krzyzewski.
According to Chris Palmer on the other hand, a slightly hotter take is necessary. He let loose after the game:
Sitting DeMar DeRozan is bogus. When an NBA All-Star gives up his summer for Team USA you play him.— Chris Palmer (@ChrisPalmerNBA) August 17, 2014
With the team's next game on August 20th against the Dominican Republic at Madison Square Garden, all eyes will be on Coach K as he makes the latest round of cuts to whittle the roster down to 12.
So, is it fair to not even give DeRozan a run in some of these exhibition games? Or is Coach K right in sitting a player he already believes will not make the final roster?
And most importantly: What do DeRozan and Rudy Gay talk about on the bench?