Injuries & Betting Odds Mount for Team USA in FIBA World Cup

David Lawrence

Monday, August 18, 2014 3:54 PM GMT

It seems that every news update regarding Team USA has only worsened their odds of winning the 2014 FIBA World Cup. With a recent injury, we adjust our basketball pick towards Spain.

DeMarcus Cousins Right Knee Injury 
The hits just keep on coming for the United States men’s basketball team in its preparations for the World Cup of Basketball later this August in Spain. DeMarcus Cousins, the center for the Sacramento Kings, collided with Anthony Davis in a battle for the ball. The final roster cuts have not yet been made, so this story is something to keep an eye on.

 

What This Means For Team USA
It’s true that Cousins’ defense is terrible, and that his slow movement in defending pick-and-roll actions is something that has been a constant liability ever since he entered the NBA from the University of Kentucky. However, Cousins’ offense is something the Americans definitely need on their roster. The other big men for Team USA are Anthony Davis, Mason Plumlee, and Kenneth Faried. Two of those guys are not exactly first-level frontline players. Davis seems to be growing into a star, slowly but surely. However, Plumlee and Faried are merely a couple of hard-working players who don’t bring anything special to the table in terms of skills.

Cousins averaged roughly (rounding to the nearest whole number) 23 points and 12 rebounds per game for Sacramento last season. He is a dependable low-post scorer. Davis averaged 21 and 10, giving Team USA an option without Cousins on the floor. Plumlee, though, averages only 7 and 4 per game, and Faried, though a little bit better at 14 and 9, gets so many of his points from putbacks and his relentless energy near the basket. In terms of being a low-post, back-to-the-basket scorer, Faried doesn’t measure up with a lot of other power forwards in the NBA. If Cousins is injured, Davis is the one guy who is in great position to take his place and not allow for any real kind of drop-off in production.

Cousins will promptly go in for an MRI after this injury. If he has suffered just a bone bruise and nothing more, he’ll probably be able to play and make the team. However, if there’s any slight degree of more structural or extensive damage, the Kings organization won’t let him play. Team USA officials will realize that they need to respect Cousins’ NBA career and the coming season. The odds of having Davis, who has just finished his second NBA season, being Team USA’s leading interior scoring threat have increased. That’s kind of scary to contemplate. With Kevin Love, Blake Griffin, and others all spurning Team USA in favor of resting before the season, the Americans are really thin as it is in the low post. If Cousins is hurt beyond the level of a bruise, this is a significant injury and loss for coach Mike Krzyzewski.

Cousins, for all of his defensive lapses, posted a 26.1 PER (player efficiency rating) last season. That was the fifth-best total in the league behind Davis himself, and then Kevin Durant, LeBron James, and Kevin Love (players not on the Team USA roster). If he’s knocked out of the lineup, it would hurt.

 

How To Bet The News
This injury, even if it’s not serious, can’t fill Cousins himself with a lot of confidence. Is he going to be able to play defense he way Coach K wants him to play? Will Plumlee and Faried have to take on extended minutes? The questions raised by this event are not positive. Spain becomes more and more of a gold-medal threat in the World Cup of Basketball – especially since they have homecourt advantage.

Free FIBA pick: Small wager on Spain +187 at 5Dimes Sportbook