Update, via The Plain Dealer (1:07pm ET): “USA Basketball Chairman Jerry Colangelo confirmed that Irving will receive an invite to participate on the U.S. Select Team, which acts as a sparring partner for the Olympic team and serves as a pool of talent from which future international sides will be drawn. The select squad, comprised of 10 to 14 players, will scrimmage against the Olympic team from July 5-11, a Team USA spokesman said…
The Americans are likely to add a player or two to the 20 finalists for the US Olympic team due to injuries. Point guard Derrick Rose suffered a season-ending knee injury on Saturday that also will sideline him for the Olympic…
Irving could merit consideration since he’s with the U.S. Select team. But short of another injury or two to point guards Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook and Deron Williams – who are among the finalists for the 12-man roster – Irving won’t be part of the Olympic team…In a text message, Colangelo wrote a youngster like Irving “needs to pay his dues” the way Westbrook, Rose, Kevin Durant and Kevin Love did as US Select members in 2008.”
The unfortunate timing of the Derrick Rose injury opened up an immediate vacancy on the Team USA roster heading into the London Games this summer. Despite the fact that Rose is a Point Guard, initial reports seemed to indicate that Coach K and Jerry Colangelo intended to fill his spot with more size. Chris Paul, Deron Williams, and Russell Westbrook already being on the roster was thought to be why.
There has since been talk of adding Demarcus Cousins, Greg Monroe, and even the soon to be rookie Anthony Davis as possible replacements for Rose, and there’s also been some interest in Roy Hibbert too. A complication involving the fact that Roy played for the Jamaican National Team in the 2010 Centrobasket will probably keep him out though, but that’s besides the point right now.
If Team USA does decide to go small instead, however, and replace Rose with a guy who plays his same position, the Cavaliers Kyrie Irving is thought to be the direction they’d go. This much at least according to the following tweet from Marc Stein last night:
This is what I mean about Kyrie Irving exceeding expectations this season: we thought he’d be good, but nobody thought that after year one he would be Team USA good. There probably weren’t too many people who thought he’d be better than John Wall this season either, but I think he kinda is. Marc Stein appears to agree, and the numbers each player posted this season don’t do anything to dispute that claim.
Kyrie Irving’s Player Efficiency Rating (PER) closed out this season at 21.49. John Wall’s was about 4 points lower, rounding out at 17.77. Wall (8.0 apg) did have more assists than Irving (5.4 apg) by about two and a half per game, and he also averaged almost one more rebound per game too (4.5 rpg to 3.7 rpg). Kyrie (18.5 ppg) averaged over two more points per game than John (16.3 ppg) did this season though, and he also averaged less TO’s while shooting a much better percentage from the field. Irving also shot an especially better percentage from three compared to Wall too, who was basically a non-factor there while Kyrie hit 40% of his attempts from deep.
John Wall certainly played with some stiffs this season though, and missed some assists he probably should have had as a result. Bullets Forever actually posted Wall’s missed assists yesterday right here, and got me thinking that next year I might do something like this for Kyrie too. In the meantime, we’ll see what happens with Team USA. I know they’re talking about adding size, and PG might not be the way they go at all, but I personally think that both Kyrie Irving and John Wall sound more like Team USA players than Greg Monroe, and Demarcus do at least. If Team USA agrees, it’ll probably be Irving who ends up going too.