Depth and unselfish nature carry Team USA

Mon Sep 15, 2014 4:08am EDT
 
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By Larry Fine

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A spate of late withdrawals, a serious injury to Paul George and several marquee names missing appeared to put Team USA under a cloud for the 2014 Basketball World Cup and for future international competition.

Instead, a group of sharp-shooting NBA regulars were unbeaten in Spain and produced a 129-92 victory over Serbia in the final to underline the depth the U.S. have at their disposal.

Stalwarts LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul were missing from the initial training camp, with Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, Kevin Love and Blake Griffin bowing out late in the process before Indiana forward George broke his leg in training and could now miss the NBA season.

Instead, James Harden, Anthony Davis, Klay Thompson and Kenneth Faried, who along with dynamic guards Steph Curry and Kyrie Irving, were blended into a band of brothers by coach Mike Krzyzewski and his staff.

Krzyzewski, however, did not see it as an onerous task to customise and then build a team for the competition.

"There's always a different team," he said of USA Basketball's strategic plan to pick from an enlarged roster for international competitions.

"We had a different team in Beijing. We had 12 different players in Istanbul, we had five guys from the Olympics and five from the world championships in London.

"Here we have four guys who have been at least on one of the teams and the rest are new. That's just what's going to happen in our program."   Continued...

 
Coach Mike Krzyewski (R) of the U.S. celebrates winning their Basketball World Cup final game against Serbia in Madrid September 14, 2014.  REUTERS/Sergio Perez