USA Basketball training camp got underway on Monday and the Atlanta Hawks are well represented as one of just three teams with a pair of players competing for roster spots. Kyle Korver and late addition Paul Millsap are part of a collection of 19 players competing for 12 spots this week in Las Vegas in advance of this summer's FIBA World Cup.
A rash of withdrawals from big names like Russell Westbrook, Blake Griffin and Kevin Love have increased the chances of both Korver and Millsap, but it's a flexible group with few locks in place. Head Coach Mike Krzyzewski can opt to go in a number of directions with the formation of his roster. Here is a look at the 19 players that are competing for spots separated by position:
Derrick Rose, John Wall, Damian Lillard, Steph Curry, Bradley Beal, James Harden, DeMar DeRozan, Kyrie Irving, Klay Thompson
Anthony Davis, Kevin Durant, Kenneth Faried, Paul George, Gordon Hayward, Kyle Korver, Chandler Parsons, Paul Millsap
DeMarcus Cousins, Andre Drummond
Even with the defections, that is a lot of talent at Team USA's disposal but it could be a bit short on big bodies. At first glance, Durant is the signature player of the group and will be going to Spain barring injury. Harden and Davis also appear to be locks given their previous experience. Davis' ability to play center at the international level will provide Krzyzewski with plenty of lineup options.
Steph Curry and Paul George also look like safe bets as is Derrick Rose as long as he shows no ill-effects of the knee injury that has caused him to miss the better part of the last two seasons. So that's six of the twelve spots gone and here's where things will get interesting.
How many point guards Krzyzewski opts to keep will help determine the make up of the rest of the roster. With Rose and Curry already on our list there may only be room for one of Kyrie Irving, John Wall or Damian Lillard. Curry may fit into the picture as more of an off guard but his ability to handle the ball and initiate an offense should shore up the position nicely. It could be a tough decision but Irving's shooting combined with his familiarity with Krzyzewski could be the deciding factor.
Another decision that will have to be made is how many centers to keep on the team. When the training camp roster was announced most thought that DeMarcus Cousins and Andre Drummond were likely competing for at most one roster spot. Given the recent withdrawals, Krzyzewski and crew may elect to keep both to give them a pair of big bodies along with Davis to use up front.
Paul Millsap was a late addition to the pool of players but he may have a great chance of sticking on the final roster. His perimeter ability combined with his basketball IQ make him a good fit for the international game. He isn't as talented as Kevin Love but he may be as close to Love as anyone on the roster in the skills that he brings to the table. More than anything it is a numbers game among the bigs. Kenneth Faried is another option in play here but his lack of a quality outside shot makes him seen as a bit of an odd fit.
In this scenario four true bigs in Davis, Millsap, Drummond and Cousins would occupy rosters spots with guys like Durant and George being skilled enough to play power forward in certain alignments. There are plenty of options, but upon closer examination Millsap may have a better chance than was originally thought.
That leaves two more spots for a talented collection of wing players. Kyle Korver is the best shooter of the bunch but it remains to be seen if that is offset by the all-around games of guys like Bradley Beal, Klay Thompson or Chandler Parsons. Beal and Thompson are both intriguing options that can compete at both ends of the floor. Parsons is a do it all player with good size.
That is my take but there are a number of possibilities and it will be interesting to see what the final roster looks like. I wouldn't be surprised to see John Wall's name nor would I be terribly surprised to see only one of Cousins or Drummond. An injury setback to a guy like Rose this week could also shuffle things up as well.
The lack of bigs in training camp certainly works in the favor of Millsap who essentially could be competing with Faried for a roster spot. Korver may have a much tougher road in that there are more quality wing options available but we know how important shooting is and for that there is no better option.