After the first week of Team USA camp, Wizards guards John Wall and Bradley Beal are seemingly looking like the odd men out at the guard positions, as neither has been able to distinguish themselves enough to increase their chances of making the final World Cup squad. While both were far from shoo-ins initially, it appeared that Wall's defense and all-around game and Beal's shooting would at least give them a fighting chance. But several developments this week have put both their chances in serious jeopardy.
Wall always faced an uphill battle to the roster's depth at point guard, and Derrick Rose's resurgence has made the back court even more crowded. Reports from camp have been glowing, with Team USA assistant Tom Thibodeau and Jim Boeheim claiming that Rose's explosiveness is back and that he's been the most impressive player at camp. Rose has gone from question mark to likely starter, meaning that Kyrie Irving, Damian Lillard and John Wall are likely competing for one, maybe two spots. Irving seems to be the favorite thanks to his shooting and his ties to Coach K, while Team USA director Jerry Colangelo sees Lillard as a tweener, able to play both guard spots. While Wall is a better passer and defender than both players, he's an inferior shooter, which is a valuable skill in international play, and his similarity in style to Derrick Rose may work against him. It doesn't help matters that a potential reunion with DeMarcus Cousins is seemingly off the table, with ESPN's Brian Windhorst reporting that Mason Plumlee is likely to make the team over Cousins.
Beal's chances look just as bleak, with Stephen Curry's move to shooting guard guaranteeing him a roster spot alongside James Harden. Beal can shoot, but so can Klay Thompson, Kyle Korver, and Gordon Hayward, and they can also play multiple positions. Beal is a solid all-around player but he doesn't have another asset like lockdown defense that can separate him from the pack. Wall and Beal will have plenty of chances to make Team USA in the future, as both are likely to receive plenty of invites. But it doesn't look like a World Cup roster spot is in the cards for either player this time around.
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Tags: Basketball, Bradley Beal, John Wall, NBA, Team USA, Washington, Washington Wizards