Shortly after signing a three-year, $46 million-dollar contract with the Dallas Mavericks this offseason, it was announced that Chandler Parsons had been added to the USA Basketball Men’s National Team roster.
The invitation meant Parsons would be competing for a spot on the final 12-man roster the United States would take to Spain on Aug. 30 to compete in the 2014 FIBA World Cup.
A total of 20 players were invited to the USA Basketball National Team training camp that took place in Las Vegas from Jul. 28 to Aug. 1. The training camp ended with an intrasquad game on Aug. 1.
Unfortunately, this was the game that Paul George suffered his gruesome lower leg injury. The game had to be called off before the final buzzer sounded as George’s Team USA teammates were visibly shaken.
The injury was a significant blow to both Team USA and the Indiana Pacers. George will miss the entire 2014-15 season as he recovers from an open fracture of the tibia and fibula in his lower right leg. Team USA now needs someone to step up in his absence.
While Team USA Managing Director Jerry Colangelo and head coach Mike Krzyzewski were examining their options, they received more news that would dramatically affect their projected roster.
Kevin Durant, the NBA’s 2013-14 Most Valuable Player announced on Aug. 7 that he would be withdrawing from the FIBA World Cup. Durant cited mental and physical fatigue as the key reasons for his decision to withdraw from the international competition.
Without Durant and George, the Team USA roster is suddenly thin at the small forward position. Early on it looked like there could be competition between small forwards Chandler Parsons and Gordon Hayward for one of the final roster spots, but it’s now suddenly possible they both find their way onto the final roster.
It’s worth noting that Sacramento Kings small forward Rudy Gay was added to the Team USA roster as a replacement for Kevin Durant. Gay is a versatile, talented forward, but the fact that he was not in the group that was initially invited indicates his chances at making the final roster are likely slim.
Parsons now has the ability to take full advantage of the opportunity this summer has provided him with. The chance to practice with many of the best players in the NBA this summer was already seen a positive for Parsons in terms of speeding up his development.
This opportunity could now extend to the 24-team tournament that begins play on Aug. 30. Being surrounded by elite players should work to enhance and refine Parsons developing game. At 25 years old, there is still ample time for Parsons to continue improving as a player.
Parsons’ numbers reflects his growth as a player. His points, rebounds and assists per game have all improved in each of his first three seasons in the NBA. A summer of practice against the best players in the world, and the prospect of competing alongside them in Spain, is something that could help Parsons take his game to the next level.
Team USA will resume preparations for the FIBA World Cup with another training camp in Chicago from Aug. 14-16. The group will then conduct exhibition games on Aug. 16, 20 and 22. Parsons will be working to prove to Colangelo and Coach K that he is indeed a fit on this talented-laden roster.
Parsons playing in the FIBA Basketball World Cup should excite, not frighten Dallas fans who are concerned with the prospect of an injury occurring. Injuries can happen at any time, on any court, and the international competition is no different.
The growth that this experience may provide Parsons, and in turn the Dallas Mavericks organization, easily outweighs the risk of an injury. Parsons is now surrounded by many of the best players in the NBA and the longer that he can extend this experience, the better.
Team USA must announce their final 12-man roster before competition begins on Aug. 30. Hoops Habit will have analysis leading up to and during the FIBA World Cup.