The United States has just one exhibition remaining before the start of the FIBA World Cup, and Kyrie Irving may be starting for the Red, White and Blue when the competition begins.
The job once appeared to belong to Derrick Rose, but his cranky knee has given coach Mike Krzyzewski a decision to make, and its something the Duke coach, and his assistants will talk about while flying to the Grand Canary Islands for the team’s final tuneup against Slovenia Aug. 23.
“That’s going to be the topic of one of the meetings on the plane,” Krzyzewski said via Sheridan Hoops following Team USA’s clobbering of Puerto Rico Friday night.
Irving had 11 points and dished out six assists while grabbing four rebounds in 27 minutes during the 112-68 win over Puerto Rico. Rose played just over 13 minutes and had six points and four assists.
In the exhibition round, Irving has outplayed Rose, while frankly, earning a starting spot.
Here’s a breakdown of the numbers from three exhibition games from Sheridan Hoops:
Irving: 83 minutes; 45 points, 14-for-22 shooting (3-for-4 on 3s), 19 assists, 2 turnovers.
Rose: 52 minutes; 21 points, 7-for-12 shooting (1-for-3 on 3s), 7 assists, 7 turnovers.
Rose has played 10 NBA games the past two years and it’s important not to forget that. Coming off the bench might be the perfect role for him because Irving probably gives the United States its best chance to win right now.
“For now, Irving appears to have earned the starting position — and not by default. he has simply been better than Rose, Chris Sheridan wrote.