Drummond and Monroe both just participated in the Team USA minicamp, so they’re at least in the mix. But Helin’s projection – an outlook I also see as likely given the positional disparity and the style of international play – gives Team USA a roster that skews small with an extra point guard replace a big. That would obviously hinder Drummond’s and Monroe’s chances, but I still wouldn’t count them out for 2014, when Helin predicts – another assessment I agree with – multiple top players will sit out.
If Monroe’s defense really has taken the next step, he’ll be a decent contender for a roster spot. He has the type of high-post passing game that works well in the international game, but Team USA should be able to do better than the one-way player Monroe has been for most of his NBA career. If Monroe is truly a capable defender now, not one who just helps on that end sporadically, that bodes well for his chances.
Drummond is the real wild card. He’s looked great in the minutes he’s gotten, but unfortunately, he hasn’t gotten many. (Thanks, Lawrence Frank.) Even counting college minutes, Drummond lags well behind nearly all the other participants in the minicamp.
The darker portions of the bars represent NBA minutes, and the lighter portions represent college minutes.
With all due respect to Marcus Smart, the Oklahoma State point guard who hasn’t yet been drafted, every one of Drummond’s major competitors for a roster spot has a significant advantage here. USA basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo just hasn’t had enough opportunities to see Drummond play.
At least Drummond and Monroe can prove themselves during at least part of the 2013-14 season before the roster is set. I think Drummond, if his per-minute production holds up in what should be a larger role this season, will make the Team USA roster. Monroe’s case is more doubtful, because the flaws in his candidacy are more under his control, and he’s had more time to improve them but still hasn’t done so.
At this point, both are on the verge, and they have a real chance to make their cases. I don’t see enough evidence to disagree with Helin leaving off Drummond and Monroe now, but hopefully they’ll give him reason to reconsider his prediction before the actual selection.