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Darnell Mayberry: Why Russell Westbrook made Team USA

Why Russell Westbrook made Team USA
by Darnell Mayberry Modified: August 24, 2010 at 7:19 pm •  Published: August 24, 2010
/articleid/3488490/1/pictures/1107978">Photo - Thunder guard Russell Westbrook will play on Team USA in the FIBA World Championships in Turkey. AP PHOTO
Thunder guard Russell Westbrook will play on Team USA in the FIBA World Championships in Turkey. AP PHOTO

Versatility: Another point of emphasis for the coaching staff was to field the most flexible team possible. The way to do that was to take a team to Turkey that was filled with players who could play multiple positions. Westbrook is one of the best dual threats available with his ability to play point guard and shooting guard, while his rebounding and defensive skills allow him to serve as the third guard in some three-guard lineups. Rondo, meanwhile, loses much of his effectiveness without the ball in his hands, and his poor shooting becomes a burden if the ball is swung to him on the wing.

Fit: In Derrick Rose and Chauncey Billups, Team USA has two extremely capable floor generals. Keeping Rondo and Westbrook would have been overkill. But Westbrook's mix of other talents allows him to play off the ball and form a quality guard rotation, with the fourth guard, Stephen Curry or Eric Gordon, being a shooting specialist. Together, the final roster affords coach Mike Krzyzewski a better opportunity to exploit defenses.

by Darnell Mayberry
OKC Thunder Senior Reporter
Darnell Mayberry grew up in Langston, Okla. and is now in his third stint in the Sooner state. After a year and a half at Bishop McGuinness High, he finished his prep years in Falls Church, Va., before graduating from Norfolk State University in...
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