NBA's Embarrassment of Point Guard Riches on Full Display During FIBA Tryouts

Dan Favale@@danfavaleFeatured ColumnistAugust 1, 2014

LAS VEGAS, NV - JULY 29:  Stephen Curry #43 of the USA Mens Basketball team before practice at the Mendenhall Center at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas on July 29, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2014 NBAE (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)
Andrew D. Bernstein/Getty Images

Team USA may lack size ahead of the FIBA World Cup.

It may have a dearth of true low-post scorers.

It will most definitely be without some familiar faces, be it by choice or necessity. 

But it will not be without superstar point guards. The NBA has plenty of them, many of whom are in Las Vegas trying to make the 12-man roster cut. 

Yes, trying.

Not all five dominant floor generals present—Stephen Curry, Derrick Rose, John Wall, Damian Lillard and Kyrie Irving—will make the final roster. There are too many of them. They represent too much of a great thing together.

Situations like this put the NBA's embarrassment of point guard riches in perspective.

Four of those five point guards were All-Stars last year, one of whom was named All-Star MVP (Irving). The one who wasn't—Rose—likely would have been if he was healthy.

Strike that, he absolutely would have been. Rose is healthy now, and it's left those around him to praise the work he's done compared to everyone else.

"He's been the most impressive guy here," Syracuse head coach Boeheim said of Rose, per ESPN Chicago's Nick Friedell.

D-Rose is just the tip of Team USA's point guard iceberg.
D-Rose is just the tip of Team USA's point guard iceberg.Andrew D. Bernstein/Getty Images

Predictions are made daily, with fans and scribes trying to glean insight into coach Mike Krzyzewski's thinking. Bleacher Report's Adam Fromal, for instance, has coined Curry a shoo-in to make the squad:

Stephen Curry is already a lock to make the squad, based on his international experience and the fact that he shoots the ball better than anyone else from the outside. And that leaves Lillard competing with John Wall, Kyrie Irving and Derrick Rose for an as-of-yet undetermined number of spots.

Rose himself is also speaking like a player who's guaranteed a spot.

“I talked to him before he signed and he said when we get to Spain that we’ll probably get something to eat," he said of the Chicago Bulls' newest addition, Pau Gasol, via's Aggrey Sam, "so I’ll probably catch up with him, get dinner or something."

If we're to assume Rose and Curry are locks, that likely means two of Wall, Irving and Lillard will be shown the door, which is by no means an indictment of their talent. Really, it's just an extension of one NBA phenomenon: an excess of talented point guards, or, in this case, a troika of All-Star outcasts.

There could have been plenty of other floor generals participating in Team USA tryouts. The position is that deep.

Very few clubs don't have at least one "star-level quarterback" guiding the offense. There is Eric Bledsoe and Chris PaulRussell Westbrook and Mike Conley, Kyle Lowry and Ty Lawson. The list goes on and on (and on).

And when you actually list them, their ubiquitous hold on this game becomes all the more apparent. When Fromal predicted who the top 20 players of 2014-15 would be, seven of them were point guards. Split evenly among all five positions, there should be only four.

All positions are not created equal, though, hence that 75 percent uptick in recognition. Point guards dominate the NBA, just like their battle for acceptance into Team USA's brotherhood is seizing headlines.

Team USA, just like the NBA in general, is all about point guards.
Team USA, just like the NBA in general, is all about point guards.Andrew D. Bernstein/Getty Images

Twenty-five qualified players finished with a player efficiency rating of 20 or better last season. Point guards accounted for roughly one-third of the pack (eight), which, frankly, is absurd. That means the other four positions averaged a little over four contributions each, approximately half that of point guards.

Nine players averaged at least 19 points and five assists while shooting 35 percent or better from deep last season. Six of them were point guards. 

Four of those six are trying out for Team USA.

Gaudy stat lines and illustrious PER totals are no doubt the byproduct of running offenses, but that's just the point. Point guards have so much control, and the league is alive with them—almost to a fault.

Take a guy like Bledsoe. He joined Curry, Paul, LeBron James and James Harden as the only five players to reach benchmarks of 17 points, four rebounds, five assists and 1.5 steals while connecting on 45 precent or more of their shots last season. He, in turn, is looking for a max contract from the Phoenix Suns, per's Chris Haynes

The Suns won't give it to him. They're offering four years and $48 million—putting Bledsoe and them more than $30 million apart—in part because they know the market is limited this time of year and also because they have two starting-caliber point guards in Dragic and Isaiah Thomas on standby.

Ergo, great point guards are everywhere. So much so, Team USA is forced to make a painful decision that, in all actuality, cannot be wrong.

There are no wrong point guard choices for Team USA.
There are no wrong point guard choices for Team USA.Ethan Miller/Getty Images

There is no wrong choice, whatever it is. There are only right choices. There are only uber-talented point guards at Coach K's disposal, ready and willing to represent their country if called upon.

"Coach K never really gives those hints away," Curry said of Team USA's roster cuts, per Fox Sports Ohio's Sam Amico. "I'm not sure even he knows."

How could Coach K know? 

He can't—not definitively. The task at hand is too hard. 

Picking from a pool of only right choices—while a luxury—is never easy.

Stats are courtesy of


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