Team USA has been whittled down to 15 players and JaVale McGee, along with Gerald Wallace, OJ Mayo and Tyreke Evans, has been sent home. ESPN’s Chris Sheridan is calling the omission of McGee a mistake. I call it inevitable, but Sheridan has a point. He writes:
He brought a unique skill set to a team hurting for size, he was an insurance policy in case Tyson Chandler (who missed 68 games the past two seasons due to injuries) gets hurt or gets into foul trouble, and he was the perfect 12th man candidate in that he might be needed for only 5-6 important minutes during the entire World Championship, but those could be the very 5-6 minutes that make or break this team’s fortunes.
Still, the method of cutting McGee makes sense. When I broke down McGee’s performance in the Team USA scrimmage last Saturday, I speculated he wouldn’t make this round cuts so that Coach Mike Krzyzewski and team director Jerry Colangelo could evaluate more talented players, on the perimeter where the abundance lies this go-around, before deciding which 12 players would compose the final roster.
Without the big guns this summer, Coach K needs the best players, and not necessarily those with the current basketball discipline level of McGee. Yes, JaVale brings unique skills to a potentially high-need area. But there are more unifying factors amongst the talented that might benefit Team USA in the long run.