It has become a trend for the best players in the NBA to pass up on a chance to represent their country in international basketball competition.
Not Kevin Durant.
Durant – along with Kevin Love – announced yesterday that they would indeed be representing their country in the 2014 FIBA World Cup in Spain.
This is exciting from a fan’s perspective and good news for the country. Durant is essentially the best international basketball player in the world, posing an unfair challenge to other countries with his height and ability to shoot over any zone, exploiting the shorter three-point line.
A lot of the biggest stars from the recent gold medal team in 2012 are getting up there in age and may decide to bypass playing for Team USA in the next Olympics.
LeBron James said that he will no longer be playing for Team USA in the World Cup or the next Olympics. The torch will officially be passed to Durant as the face of USA Basketball.
The only worry for Durant is that more basketball in the summer will hurt his ability to perform in the NBA. Durant always says that he plays basketball all of the time in the summer anyway, but there’s no denying that more games could affect you at least somewhat.
Durant has also been very young in the seasons prior that he represented Team USA. He’s not old yet but there definitely will be a difference of him doing this at age 26 and 28 as opposed to before when he was 22 and 24.
The last thing the Thunder need is Durant getting burned out in anyway for the NBA’s regular season.
I expect Durant to use good judgement with this and for the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics, I think he will still be young enough to handle both and not miss a beat in the following NBA seasons.
We don’t know yet if Russell Westbrook will be joining Durant, but my guess is that he definitely will.