Home US Sports NBA Kevin Durant Withdraws From Team USA?

Kevin Durant Withdraws From Team USA?

The news came down on Thursday, in what many in Team USA Basketball considered a shocking announcement. And it will no doubt affect how the team will be constructed for the FIBA World Cup moving forward.

Oklahoma City Thunder forward and reigning NBA MVP Kevin Durant, the unquestioned leader of a talented American squad, unexpectedly withdrew from consideration for Team USA, citing “physical and mental fatigue.” Up to this point, Durant was likely going to serve as the centerpiece of the Americans’ potent offensive game, as the only sure lock to make the team.

It should be noted that Durant’s ultimate decision came just less than a week after the horrific injury to American teammate Paul George in the 4th quarter of a Team USA scrimmage. His withdrawal also follows those of fellow American All-Stars like LaMarcus Aldridge of the Portland Trail Blazers, Kevin Love (soon-to-be) of the Cleveland Cavaliers, and Kawhi Leonard of the World Champion San Antonio Spurs. The four-time NBA scoring champion explained his reasoning in a statement on August 7:

This was an extremely difficult decision as I take great pride in representing our country. I know that I owe it to my USA Basketball teammates to be totally invested in the experience. After going through training camp with USAB, I realized I could not fulfill my responsibilities to the team from both a time and energy standpoint … I need to take a step back and take some time away, both mentally and physically in order to prepare for the upcoming NBA season. I will be rooting for USAB and look forward to future opportunities with them.

Since the news broke, there have been arguments that Durant shouldn’t have backed out on his fellow Americans, especially this late in the selection process. After all, his decision comes just three weeks before the start of the FIBA World Cup, handcuffing a squad still scrambling to field a cohesive unit to go against the likes of Spain and Argentina. Others, still, have gone so far as to question his patriotism, in the wake of what some view as quitting.

While the loss of Durant for Team USA, just three weeks before tip-off of the inaugural basketball tournament, is a significant blow for the squad, it’s hardly crippling. After all, the team is still supremely talented even without the likes of Durant. Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose, for example, has looked stellar coming off ACL and meniscus injuries over the last two seasons, with coach Mike Krzyzewski calling him “elite”. This was a former NBA MVP in his own right.

Reports have also claimed Team USA will likely employ a smaller, faster backcourt that is primed to score without Durant in the lineup. This includes talented slashers like Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry, Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard, and Utah Jazz guard Gordon Hayward.

Additionally, without Durant at the forward spot, this gives other talented players on the roster bubble a much larger chance of securing a spot on the team. For example, Sacramento Kings power forward DeMarcus Cousins has long been considered to have one foot out the door, with a volatile attitude to go along with a strong inside game. If all goes well over the next two weeks, he may have an easier time finding himself in Spain come August 23rd, as a valuable member of the Team USA frontcourt.

As for assertions that Durant looks like an unpatriotic quitter, granted – the decision came as a surprise to much of the American public. However, one must put things into perspective.

Durant had just finished an MVP campaign in 2013-2014 that saw him and his Thunder reach the Western Conference Finals for the fourth straight season. Tack on top of that an MVP performance in the 2010 World Championships and a Gold Medal run with Team USA in the London Olympics two years ago, and it’s hard to argue that the 7-year NBA veteran – who turns 26 in September – doesn’t deserve a bit of a break.

And, again, it’s hard to dismiss arguments that George’s gruesome injury had something to do with Durant’s ultimate decision. Furthermore, considering his extensive resume with Team USA Basketball – and the allusion that he will return to the national team for the next Olympiad – any argument accusing Durant of being unpatriotic simply doesn’t hold water.

In any case, Durant has made a decision – albeit at the expense of Team USA Basketball – that will likely be for the good of the NBA, the Oklahoma City Thunder, and most importantly, himself. As for the team? I’m sure they will be fine come tipoff later this month, with the talent they continue to cultivate stateside.

f74ae23a45b01093ac7d97868156e770?s=117&d=mm&r=g
Paulo Camachohttp://pauloccamacho.wordpress.com
Paulo Camacho is an American sports writer originally from Davis, California. He has run his own blog, The Macho Sports Report, for over nine years. He has been a passionate sports fan, loyal to Bay Area sports teams like the San Francisco Giants and San Francisco 49ers, since he was a child.
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Sports News

Fabinho Acrobatics Seals Liverpool Win

Reds opean European campaign with a win and solid defensive display

The Rejuvenation of Isaiah Thomas During the Pandemic

Isaiah Thomas has seen highs and lows like no other all-star in the NBA. From being an MVP candidate who finished 3rd in regular-season - MVP voting averaging of 29 points per game, to being traded the next year. And then being traded two more times from Washington to Denver and then on to the LA Clippers and then cut by the Clippers, it has been a real roller-coaster ride (not a good one)...

Lazio FC – The Rich History of Società Sportiva Lazio

Lazio Football Club is an Italian football club based in Rome, known mainly for their love for the beautiful game of soccer. They are annual participants in the Italian top league, Serie A, and usually pull their weight in challenging for titles and trophies. They have been Italian Scudetto winners twice in 1974 and 2000, and have lifted the prestigious Coppa Italia a whopping seven times, the Supercoppa Italiana three times and the European collections...

2020 World Series Preview/ Exciting Championship Reviews

A preview of the Dodger facing off against the Rays in the World Series. The Braves-Dodgers and Rays-Astros series wrap-up.

Estrada Headlines World Title Triple Header on October 23

Matchroom USA will return to North America for the first time in over 8 weeks with an exciting World championship Triple Header topped by pound-for-pound star Juan Francisco Estrada. Estrada defends his WBC and Ring magazine belts against Carlos Cuadras in a rematch of their 'Mexican War' which took place in 2017. Roman Gonzalez faces off against Israel Gonzalez for Chocolatito's WBA (Super) Super-Flyweight title in the co-main event. The Nicaraguan won the title by...

Van Dijk injury gives Klopp the opportunity to reinvent Reds

Van Dijk faces lengthy time on the sidelines As the news finally broke on Van Dijk’s injury, one could almost sense a collective sigh of despair from the Liverpool fans. Their worst fears were confirmed as official word from the player arrived on social media. After undergoing further scans, the Dutch defender stated the following, “I’m now fully focused on my recovery and will do everything I can to be back as quickly as possible. Despite...

Maro Itoje: The Future Captain of England Rugby

The name Oghenemaro Itoje does not sound too familiar to many rugby enthusiasts, yet, when it's shortened to Maro Itoje, every England Rugby fan has words of praise for the latest English rugby superstar. The lock forward weighs in at a solid 115 KG, with his height being a whopping 1.95m. The presence of Itoje in The English forward’s has allowed it to find its backbone, where Itoje leads the pack. After a disappointing 2019...

Spurs Quick Start Ambushed by Lanzini’s Hammer

A fast start by Spurs Peep!....peep!, it was not even a minute before the referee blew the whistle for the second time. 45 seconds was all it took for Spurs to go ahead in this game, a start that even the Roadrunner would appreciate. The Lily Whites continued their rapid and mind-numbing start to the season as they rushed into a generous lead, with Kane at the heart of it. The English national...

Crawford Brook Agreed for November 14 on ESPN

On the Lomachenko-Lopez broadcast last night on ESPN, Top Rank announced another big fight just 4 weeks away. Terence Crawford will defend his WBO Welterweight title against Britain's Kell Brook on regular ESPN. This is another Top Rank mega-clash that could have landed on Pay-per-view but now lands on free-to-air television. Although this is a good fight on paper, the question here is how competitive will this fight really be? Brook has not boxed at...

Observation from the Milan Derby

AC Milan met Inter Milan for the first Milan derby for the 2010-21 season.  The match was an enthralling one, ending in a competitive 2-1 win for the ‘I Rossoneri.’ Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored early in the match, 13th and 16th minute before Romelu Lukaku put pulled one back for Inter Milan in the 28th minute. These were the only goals of the game. The win for AC Milan was their first since 2016 against their...
Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x