USA sets final World Cup roster as Lakers’ Kuzma exits
The final United States roster of NBA players for the Basketball World Cup is set after a left ankle injury forced out Los Angeles Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma, USA Basketball said Saturday.
The news came hours after the Americans lost 98-94 to Australia at Melbourne in a pre-Cup exhibition game, snapping a run of 78 US wins in a row in major competitions and exhibition games.
USA Basketball announced Kuzma’s injury would have prevented him from taking part in the World Cup in China, which opens August 31.
Most of the NBA’s top stars — including LeBron James, Kawhi Leonard, Anthony Davis and James Harden — have skipped the World Cup, leaving a squad of younger talents to seek a third consecutive title.
The US lineup includes Milwaukee’s Brook Lopez, Denver’s Mason Plumlee and Indiana’s Myles Turner at center and Sacramento’s Harrison Barnes, Boston’s Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum and Milwaukee’s Khris Middleton at forward.
US guards include Brooklyn’s Joe Harris, Utah’s Donovan Mitchell, Boston’s Marcus Smart and Kemba Walker and San Antonio’s Derrick White.
Barnes was on the US 2016 Rio gold medal team while Plumlee played on the 2014 US World Cup championship squad.
Walker is the only member of the team to earn All-NBA honors this year.
US coach Gregg Popovich, in his first campaign as coach, will guide the team into final training at Sydney, including a Monday exhibition against Canada.