Pistons’ big men battle for Team USA spot
by Jeff Zillgitt, USA TODAY Sports
LAS VEGAS – Big men Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond are teammates. Even friends.
And while they share a common goal – making the Detroit Pistons better – they are also competing against each other for a spot on Team USA at next summer’s FIBA Basketball World Cup in Spain. And looking even further ahead, consideration for the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Big men spots will be limited, especially with Wednesday’s announcement that Kevin Durant and Kevin Love will play in Spain, and USA Basketball’s fascination and belief in Anthony Davis.
Monroe or Drummond might make the team, but it is unlikely both make it. They have defused what could have been an awkward situation.
“It’s like that every day in Detroit. We play the same position in Detroit. We compete against each other and make each other better,” Drummond said. “If one of us makes it, we’ll be rooting for each other.”
Monroe laughed off the notion that a spot on the U.S. team would impact chemistry with the Pistons.
“I don’t think he felt that way. I don’t feel that way,” Monroe said.
If anything, it will make them both better, thus making the Pistons better, Monroe reasoned.
“We both played hard. We both competed,” he said. “At the end of the day, we’re on the same team and as important as USA Basketball is, we’re going to be focused on winning with the Pistons.”
The four-day camp ends Thursday with a Blue-White scrimmage, and Monroe and Drummond will be on opposite teams. USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo plans to announce a preliminary roster of about 20 players in January or February.
Colangelo, U.S. coach Mike Krzyzewski of Duke and assistant coaches Tom Thibodeau of the Chicago Bulls, Monty Williams of the New Orleans Pelicans and Jim Boeheim of Syracuse will follow Drummond, Monroe, and other big men invited to camp (Utah’s Derrick Favors, Denver’s Kenneth Faried, Milwaukee’s Larry Sanders) during 2013-14 NBA season.
Big men have been an area of concern for the U.S. in past international competitions because of the lack of depth. Tyson Chandler and Kevin Love were the only two true big men to receive … [For more on Detroit Pistons big men battle for USA Basketball spot, click here.]