Clippers' Eric Gordon says he has a 'good shot' at making Team USA final roster
That means the current 15-player roster will be whittled to 12, and Clippers guard Eric Gordon, who is in New York competing for one of those spots, said by phone Friday that he thinks he has a "good shot" at making it.
Why? Well, largely because the international competition will play zone defense against the always athletic Americans, thus meaning Team USA will need three-point shooters. That's where he comes in.
"When those teams bring zone, you have to be able to make the outside shot, and that's what I'm capable of doing," he said.
That said, it's not like he's facing a bunch of stiffs. Here are the other finalists:
Denver guard Chauncey Billups, Dallas center Tyson Chandler; Golden State guard Stephen Curry, Oklahoma City guard-forward Kevin Durant, Memphis forward Rudy Gay, Indiana guard-forward Danny Granger, Oklahoma City guard-forward Jeff Green, Philadelphia guard Andre Iguodala, New Jersey center Brook Lopez, Minnesota forward-center Kevin Love, Lakers guard-forward Lamar Odom, Boston guard Rajon Rondo, Chicago guard Derrick Rose and Oklahoma City guard Russell Westbrook.
Of that group, it will likely come down to Curry and Gordon for the outside shooter role, and if the numbers are any indication, Curry will get the nod, as he shot 44% (166 for 380) from three-point range last year while Gordon shot 37% (119 for 321).
Gordon did shine somewhat in the the Team USA Showcase -- an intra-squad exhibition game -- held July 24 in Las Vegas when he scored 16 points, including shooting four for seven from beyond the arc.
Still, regardless of what happens, Gordon said "It's definitely good just to compete with these caliber of guys. It's good just to be out here."
Twenty-four teams will compete in the 2010 FIBA World Championship, which will be held in Ankara, Istanbul, Izmir and Kayseri, Turkey, from Aug. 28 through Sept. 12. The United States was drawn on Dec. 15 into preliminary round Group B and is joined by Brazil, Croatia, Iran, Slovenia and Tunisia. Team USA will open against Croatia on Aug. 28.
-- Baxter Holmes
Photo: Guard Eric Gordon goes on the offensive in the Team USA Showcase event in Las Vegas last month. Credit: Ethan Miller / Getty Images