With its frontcourt depth quickly thinning out, Team USA has decided to add Atlanta Hawks forward Paul Millsap to the roster.
The team's official Twitter feed confirmed the news Sunday:
Millsap discussed the honor of being selected, via The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Chris Vivlamore:
Millsap: “I’m very excited about being added to the USA Men’s National Team roster." #ATLHawks— Chris Vivlamore (@CVivlamoreAJC) July 27, 2014
Millsap: “I look forward to practicing with & competing against some of the NBA’s best for the honor of representing our country in Spain.”— Chris Vivlamore (@CVivlamoreAJC) July 27, 2014
Head coach Mike Krzyzewski and chairman Jerry Colangelo weren't planning on adding more players to the roster, but with the withdrawals of Kevin Love, Blake Griffin and LaMarcus Aldridge, adding Millsap became a necessity.
The move brings the roster up to 19 players. They will participate in training camp this week in Las Vegas and again in Chicago and New York later this summer. Coaches will then shave the depth chart down to 12 players who will represent the red, white and blue at the FIBA Basketball World Cup in Spain.
An automatic spot in the 2016 Olympics will be on the line.
Millsap is coming off what many would refer to as a career year—he earned his first All-Star nod—but it was really just another in a quietly long line of productive seasons for the 29-year-old. Leading the injury-riddled Atlanta Hawks to the playoffs, he averaged 17.9 points, 8.5 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 1.7 steals and 1.1 blocks per contest.
In a remarkable feat of consistency, it was his third campaign in four seasons with a player efficiency rating (PER) of exactly 19.8, per Basketball-Reference.com.
As Fox Sports' Sam Amico noted, this is a deserved honor:
Assuming reports are true, Hawks F Paul Millsap a nice addition to Team USA training camp roster. So underrated.— Sam Amico (@SamAmicoFSO) July 27, 2014
Being a last-minute addition before training camp will make it difficult, but Millsap has a lot of things working for him in his quest to make the final roster.
Will Millsap make the final 12-man roster?
His ability to stretch the floor (he shot 35.8 percent from three-point range last season) from the power forward position makes him ideal for the international game, while he can also play inside and rebound quite well. Moreover, he holds quite a bit more experience than frontcourt hopefuls such as DeMarcus Cousins, Andre Drummond and Kenneth Faried.
"Paul has prior experience at the National Team level having participated in the 2009 National Team mini-camp and offers us veteran inside player who possesses attributes that can be beneficial for us," said Colangelo in a press release (h/t ESPN.com).
Whether or not he is able to book a free trip to Spain, this is a tremendous feat for Millsap. It looks like the 6'8" big man isn't so underrated anymore.
It's also a logical move for Team USA, and it will be interesting to see what Millsap does with this opportunity.