The Team USA Basketball minicamp starts Monday, July 22, and many of the best young players the states have to offer will gather in Las Vegas.
There were a few last minute changes to the roster, as Taj Gibson pulled out of the camp with an ankle injury and George Hill withdrew due to an unknown scheduling conflict. But here is who will be in Vegas next week to perform in front of head coach Mike Krzyzewski and assistants Tom Thibodeau, Monty Williams and Jim Boeheim:
Ryan Anderson, Harrison Barnes, Bradley Beal, Mike Conley, DeMarcus Cousins, Anthony Davis, DeMar DeRozan, Andre Drummond, Kenneth Faried, Derrick Favors, Paul George, Gordon Hayward, Jrue Holiday, Kyrie Irving, DeAndre Jordan, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Ty Lawson, Damian Lillard, Creighton's Doug McDermott, Greg Monroe, Chandler Parsons, Larry Sanders, Oklahoma State's Marcus Smart, Klay Thompson, Dion Waiters, Kemba Walker, John Wall and Tyler Zeller.
These players will battle for the right to play alongside some of the NBA's best players in the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup in Spain. The 2010 World Championship roster for the U.S. included some players who both made the Olympic team and made big strides in their NBA play, including Tyson Chandler, Russell Westbrook, Kevin Love, Derrick Rose and Andre Iguodala.
Before 2010, only Rose had made the All-Star Game among those players. Since then, the other four have played in the NBA's annual showcase. In the season that followed, Rose averaged 25 points, 7.7 assists, 4.1 rebounds and a steal per game in winning the 2010-11 NBA MVP award.
This list will certainly be whittled down further for next year's Team USA minicamp, which will include many of this year's participants along with several other NBA stars. Westbrook, Love, Kevin Durant and James Harden have all expressed interest in playing for Team USA next summer, while players like Iguodala and Stephen Curry could also be involved. Curry was a member of the 2010 World Championship team.
Some superstars from the 2012 Olympic gold-medal winning team like LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul and Kobe Bryant probably won't be on the 2014 squad. Anthony Davis, who won a gold medal in London before playing a single NBA game, should be expected to play in Spain if healthy.
Even taking away the clear advantage of playing in 2014, one week in July is surprisingly meaningful for a lot of these guys. Consider a player like DeMarcus Cousins, who has quite a bit to prove after clashing with USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo in 2012 while also dealing with some general maturity issues the past few years.
What's more, a consistently underrated storyline entering each NBA season is the shape in which each player keeps during the summer. It's also worth keeping an eye on how players like George and Barnes do, considering they will be playing against each other and they both seemed prime to break out during the 2013 NBA playoffs.
The two players with arguably the most to gain will be McDermott and Smart. McDermott will be a senior next year and Smart a sophomore, but both are expected to be in the stacked 2014 NBA Draft. If they show they belong against this crop of players, that will do wonders for their draft stock, not to mention their confidence playing against 18-year-olds in college next year.
The minicamp will wrap up July 25 at the Thomas & Mack Center with an intrasquad exhibition game. The game will be aired on NBA TV at 9 p.m. ET and will be shown numerous times after that. For those interested in attending the scrimmage, tickets can be bought here.
NBA TV will also be broadcasting a series called "Real Training Camp: 2013 USA Basketball," which will go behind-the-scenes of the minicamp. The first episode will air on Tuesday at 3 p.m.