One of the most interesting subplots of Team USA camp so far has been the departure of forwards Kevin Love and Blake Griffin. With Love departing due to the trade talk swirling around him and Griffin leaving due to a back fracture, the team has now has a gaping hole in its front court depth. The need to replace Love and Griffin, both of whom were considered locks to make the team, has created an opportunity for one or more of Team USA's young big men to make the World Cup roster, and Kings center DeMarcus Cousins seems poised to seize the opportunity. Cousin held his own on day one of camp and displayed a strong effort on both ends of the court, and he appears to be taking the opportunity very seriously.
The idea of the much-maligned Cousins becoming Team USA's savior would be another fascinating subplot and would be a nice validation for the young center. Cousins is known for his volatile temperament and questionable behavior, but he can get it done on the court. Coming off a career year where he averaged 22.7 PPG and 11.7 RPG, the 6'11", 270 pound Cousins would give Team USA a physical presence on both ends of the court. While the team can likely get away with playing small ball against most teams, Cousins's size would come in handy against Spain's front court of the Gasol brothers and Serge Ibaka.
If Cousins continues to impress and becomes a shoo-in for the team, it would be a huge gain for former teammate John Wall. Wall and Cousins have been friends since high school and were a dynamic pair at Kentucky. Their on and off court chemistry increases the likelihood of both players making the team together, as his ability to serve as a friend and confidante to Cousins could also provide a stabilizing element to the team. Wall was already a candidate to earn one of the point guard spots thanks to his playmaking and defense, assets that make him stand out form the other guards on the roster. WIth the team likely to adopt a small-ball approach, the roster will likely have more guards than bigs, meaning Love or Griffin's spot could go to someone like Wall, Damian Lillard or Klay Thompson rather than Kenneth Faried or Paul MIllsap. If Wall can use his relationship with Cousins to further separate himself from the pack, he has as good a chance as anyone to make the final squad.
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Tags: Basketball, DeMarcus, John Wall, NBA, Team USA, Washington, Washington Wizards