With the withdrawals of Kevin Love and Blake Griffin from the USA men's basketball team, it looked like Detroit Pistons big man Andre Drummond had a clear path toward a roster spot. Drummond made the first round of cuts, but according to two NBA basketball writers he is the "distinct No. 3" in the battle to be the backup center to New Orleans Pelicans big man Anthony Davis.
In a position-by-position breakdown of how things are shaping up in the wake of Paul George's horrific injury, ESPN writers Marc Stein and Brian Windhorst had this to say about Drummond.
When Team USA practices resume in Chicago, Drummond will find himself needing to play catch-up to Cousins and Plumlee. Coach K is likely to take only two extra centers behind Davis, and Drummond, for all of his rebounding gifts at age 20, is a distinct No. 3 in that race after a lackluster week in Vegas.
While early guesses had both Cousins and Drummond as the clear favorites as backup big man, that quickly morphed into Cousins on the outside looking in with Plumlee getting a nod. Now it looks as if both Cousins and Plumlee have vaulted in front of Drummond in the big man battle.
The final roster decisions don't have to be made until Aug. 23 when Team USA boards a plane for Spain to take part in the World Cup. Players will reconvene for additional practices in Chicago on Aug. 13. That gives Drummond roughly 10 days to show Jerry Colangelo and coach Mike Kryzewski why he should be on that plane and on the roster.
"Andre is a willing worker.
"We've seen him continuing to grow. This type of competition for him in trying to make the team - and if he makes it going forward - only helps him. He's a really good guy and we want him. Whether he's on the team right now or not will be determined.
"We want him in USA Basketball going forward because he's an up-and-coming, outstanding player.
"He's did a good job. ... As a young player, he's still learning about all the defensive coverages. He's working, he's improving. He did well. He's in full consideration for a spot going forward."