With the moves not expected to be revealed until later Saturday, USAB instead announced its final 12-man squad for Spain in a 1 a.m. ET news release, some four hours after completing a 112-86 exhibition rout of Puerto Rico at Madison Square Garden.
Toronto's DeMar DeRozan and Detroit's Andre Drummond, widely regarded as prime candidates to be left home at the start of the week, claimed the last two roster spots alongside starters Kyrie Irving (Cleveland), Stephen Curry (Golden State), James Harden (Houston), Kenneth Faried (Denver) and Anthony Davis (New Orleans) and reserves Derrick Rose (Chicago), DeMarcus Cousins (Sacramento), Klay Thompson (Golden State), Rudy Gay (Sacramento) and Mason Plumlee (Brooklyn).
Team USA coach Mike Krzyzewski said after the Puerto Rico game that he had concluded keeping at least five and "possibly six" big men was a must to get through the tournament. The Americans will play nine games between Aug. 30 and Sept. 14, including a potential championship game against host Spain and its imposing frontcourt featuring Marc Gasol, Pau Gasol and Serge Ibaka.
Keeping Drummond, along with Cousins, Plumlee and starters Davis and Faried, gives Krzyzewski five legit big men, stretching to six if Gay, who has the size to play the power positions internationally, is included.?
Sources familiar with the selection process told ESPN.com that Dallas' Parsons in particular, thought to have a strong case to make the final 12-man roster after the withdrawal of Kevin Durant and the injury loss of Paul George, was unexpectedly squeezed out by USAB's desire to field as big a team as possible.
That desire for added size, sources said, led to the surprise inclusion of Drummond over the likes of Parsons and sharpshooter Korver, while DeRozan's size and strength relative to most guards ultimately won out over Portland's Lillard.
"Since taking over the USA Basketball men's national team program in 2005, this was without doubt the most difficult selection process we've gone through," USAB chairman Jerry Colangelo said in a statement. "I can't stress enough the outstanding effort and commitment that has been given by each finalist. I also want to make it clear that this is not just about talent; each player is incredibly talented and each player offered us unique skills. In the end it was about assembling the best team, selecting guys who we felt would be able to best play the kind of style we envision this team playing."
Said Krzyzewski: "I'm excited about the 12 players selected and feel we have excellent versatility and the makings of a really good defensive team."
After flirting earlier this week with taking 13 or even 14 players to Spain for an extra week of evaluation, Krzyzewski announced after the Puerto Rico game that only 12 players would be on Saturday afternoon's flight.
"We feel that it's better to go with 12 because that's really difficult on anybody if they're not going to be on the team to travel that far," Krzyzewski said.