Team USA basketball updates: PJ Tucker drops out of FIBA World Cup after ankle injury, per report
Team USA's roster has undergone constant change in the previous weeks
Team USA held its first organized scrimmage last week in Las Vegas, and after a 97-78 victory over the Select Team, and even after trimming down the roster following that victory, players are still dropping out.
The latest player to leave, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic, is Houston Rockets forward PJ Tucker. He reportedly suffered an ankle injury and will now focus on preparing for training camp with the Rockets. The decision is not the only loss Team USA has sustained since that scrimmage.
On Monday, Team USA lost a veteran presence, as Kyle Lowry reportedly withdrew from the competition. Lowry still hasn't been cleared to resume playing after he underwent surgery on his right thumb in July. He went to training camp despite a fear that injury wouldn't allow him to play, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.
Two standouts from the Select Team over the past week in Las Vegas, San Antonio Spurs guard Derrick White and Sacramento Kingsbig man Marvin Bagley, were promoted to the senior roster. To make room for them, Chicago Bulls forward Thaddeus Young and Miami heat center Bam Adebayo were both cut. Bagley then opted to drop out altogether in order to focus on the upcoming NBA season, according to Marc Stein.
Team USA faces its toughest test yet on Friday in an exhibition match against long-time rival Spain. That game will be played in Los Angeles, after which the team will travel to Australia for a few more exhibitions ahead of the actual tournament, which kicks off on Aug. 31.
By then, the roster needs to be trimmed to a final 12, but the Americans do not have to rush to get there. They don't need to get to that number until Aug. 29, two days before the tournament begins. While there could be more cuts in the interim, it is more likely that Team USA uses the time to evaluate Marcus Smart after his injury. The Celtics guard will not be rushed back, so keeping 14 players on the roster prior to the tournament makes sense.
Director Jerry Colangelo confirmed that patience is indeed the plan. "We're going to be patient with the rest of the squad, because we have plenty of time," Colangelo said Friday according to John Schuhmann of NBA.com. "We want to make sure everyone gets a real shot, and I think the staff is sorting through all that. There's something we like about every one of the players."
Team USA's final decisions likely depend on the health of Smart. While Smart doesn't have quite the same cache as some of the other players on the team, his defense would be essential on this offense-heavy roster. Here is the complete 14-man roster that Team USA is keeping for now.
Team USA roster
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