News is breaking on Thursday that Oklahoma City Thunder forward and reigning NBA MVP Kevin Durant has withdrawn from Team USA’s FIBA World Cup team. Apparently Durant contacted head coach Mike Krzyzewski Thursday afternoon and told him he was physically and mentally drained from the season and needed a break.
The 25-year-old was one of the cornerstones of the team and will leave Team USA without its best player. That said, his exhaustion makes sense, given that over the past four seasons he has led the NBA in minutes played with 11,825. That’s an insane amount of wear and tear on a guy who also has a top five usage rate.
Durant issued a statement about his decision:
“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.”
With Durant gone it’s not like Team USA will struggle to find scoring. Guys like Stephen Curry, James Harden, Damian Lillard, Derrick Rose and Klay Thompson can all fill it up, while Chandler Parsons and Gordon Hayward are both options to replace Durant on the wing.
Durant is probably best offensive player in the world right now and he’s certainly one of the top three all-around players. Losing him is a big blow, but it shouldn’t sink Team USA’s chances of winning the FIBA World Cup in Spain.