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No surprise, Anthony Davis among 16 USA finalists

by Jim Eichenhofer

Based on recent quotes from USA Basketball head coach Mike Krzyzewski such as “Anthony Davis is our guy” among American big men, there was no reason for the New Orleans All-Star to lose sleep worrying about making the team. Still, Davis frequently told reporters in Las Vegas last week that he didn’t want to assume anything, even a spot on the roster.

Although Davis’ inclusion on the 12-player team is still not technically guaranteed, his name was among 16 finalists announced by USA Basketball on Tuesday morning. The Americans will compete in a series of exhibition games this month in New York City and Chicago, then embark for Spain near the end of August. Davis and Team USA are scheduled to begin FIBA World Cup play on Aug. 30 vs. Finland, followed by an Aug. 31 tilt against Turkey and Pelicans center Omer Asik.

Devoid of a 7-footer, the American team is a bit smaller height-wise than in many previous incarnations, but the 6-10 Davis is joined among the group of finalists by 6-11 DeMarcus Cousins (Sacramento) and Mason Plumlee (Brooklyn), as well as 6-10 Andre Drummond (Detroit). Plumlee was not on the original list of national team candidates, but impressed last week as a member of the younger, less experienced USA Select group.

USA Basketball’s backcourt is loaded with talent, including point guards Kyrie Irving, Stephen Curry, Damian Lillard and Derrick Rose, as well as shooting guards James Harden, DeMar DeRozan and Klay Thompson. The remainder of the frontcourt includes NBA small forwards Kevin Durant, Chandler Parsons, Gordon Hayward and Kyle Korver, along with power forward Kenneth Faried.