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Kyrie Irving announced as starter for Team USA in final World Cup tune-up against Slovenia

Has Kyrie Irving supplanted Derrick Rose as the starter for Team USA at the point guard position?

Al Bello

So Team USA has one final tune-up on Tuesday night before heading to Spain for the FIBA World Cup. One new storyline that has popped up, that, frankly, is pretty unexpected is the notion that Kyrie Irving, point guard for your Cleveland Cavaliers, might end up being the starter for the US despite it being the team's position of strength.

At the outset of camp, there were good reasons and arguments to have John Wall and even Damian Lillard on the team ahead of Irving. Now, we are discussing whether Irving is going to start while those guys watch from home. My feelings on this are mixed. I think John Wall should be on the team. I think Irving is better than Lillard.

But I also don't think that whether you make the team or start or whatever should be based solely on what you accomplished last season. Team USA puts together scrimmages and practices and try outs and exhibitions in an effort to find out who fits and who doesn't. At the end of all that, Coach K and the staff want Kyrie on the team. They also desperately want to win. But the question of whether Kyrie Irving will be on the team has been answered, and now we get a new one.

Should he start? Will he?

The answer is maybe, and maybe.

From Marc Stein of ESPN:

Kyrie Irving will start opposite Goran Dragic at point guard Tuesday night when Team USA plays Slovenia in its final tuneup game leading into the FIBA World Cup.

But Team USA coach Mike Krzyzewski, in tabbing Irving as his starter against the Dragic-led Slovenians, told that one option under consideration is letting Irving and Derrick Rose trade off as the starter throughout the tournament, which opens Saturday in Bilbao with the Yanks facing Finland.

"We'll see as thing goes on," Krzyzewski said after Monday's two-hour practice. "We might alternate 'em. Both of them are going to play significant minutes."

So this is pretty cool. I will continue to bang the drum on being excited to see Irving play next to Steph Curry. It's been fun to see him in control. He's distributed without forcing. He's hit some spot up shots. He needs experience playing with really good players because LeBron James and Kevin Love are coming to town. In the meantime, it gives us something fun to watch.