Time was running out for Team USA coach Gregg Popovich to make his final roster cut ahead of the FIBA World Cup. An injury to Los Angeles Lakers wing Kyle Kuzma essentially made the decision for him.
Kuzma’s ankle injury solidified their 12-man roster, meaning Nuggets center Mason Plumlee officially made the cut, as did Parker native and CU alum Derrick White. Plumlee was also a member of the gold-medal winning 2014 World Cup team, while White will play in the World Cup for the first time.
Based on Team USA’s exhibitions thus far, Plumlee is behind Indiana’s Myles Turner in the rotation. He and Milwaukee’s Brook Lopez should battle for backup responsibilities.
Winning it this time around will be significantly harder as Friday night’s stunning result – a 98-94 loss to Australia in an exhibition game in Melbourne – showed. The loss snapped Team USA’s 78-game winning streak that dated back to 2006.
Between Nikola Jokic’s Serbian national team, France, Greece and Australia, the international tournament appears wide open. Nuggets forward Juancho Hernangomez will represent Spain, another medal contender.
Team USA will play one more exhibition against Canada on Monday prior to the start of the World Cup, which runs from Aug. 31-Sept. 15 in China.
Below is the full roster:
Harrison Barnes, Jaylen Brown, Joe Harris, Brook Lopez, Khris Middleton, Donovan Mitchell, Mason Plumlee, Marcus Smart, Jayson Tatum, Myles Turner, Kemba Walker, Derrick White.