The Los Angeles Clippers have announced that Blake Griffin is withdrawing from the FIBA World Cup. He was set to represent the United States in the event and was to team with a group of 18 other stars to form the USA Basketball Men’s National Team. Instead, Griffin has had a change of heart and has joined Kawhi Leonard in staying home.
Similar to Leonard (who cited rest and preparation for the NBA season), Griffin had this to say:
I appreciate the invitation to play for Team USA this summer,” Griffin said. “It is a special opportunity anytime you have a chance to represent your country, and I was honored to be included. However, right now I want to focus and dedicate 100 percent of my energy on improving and preparing for the upcoming season with the Clippers.
Griffin is coming off of his finest season as a professional, with averages of 24.1 points, 9.5 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 1.2 steals in 35.8 minutes per game. His Clippers, however, lost to the Oklahoma City Thunder in six games in the Western Conference Semifinals.
Blake has made the All-Star game in each of his first four seasons in the league and finished third in the NBA’s Most Valuable Player voting in 2013-14. Certainly the rest will help him and the Men’s National Team will have to scramble if they choose to replace him.