Well, we won’t see Kevin Durant playing basketball again this summer. The league’s MVP released a statement Thursday that he would not be participating in the FIBA World Championship. Here is the statement that Team USA released.
“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.”
While it came at a tough time for the team and lessens their chances of winning gold in the tournament, Durant has earned every right to back out and not participate.First of all, he has paid his dues for Team USA. He played in the 2010 FIBA World Championship and the 2012 Olympics. No other player vying for a roster spot for this year’s World Championship participated in both of those events. Durant has poured his heart and soul into team USA basketball and if he wants rest and too not log more minutes on his body, so be it. He deserves it.
Secondly, while playing for Team USA is important for these players, they are still employed by NBA teams and their number one goal is to win NBA titles. Durant knows he has to be 100 percent and mentally prepared once the regular season starts if the Oklahoma City Thunder are going to contend for a NBA championship.
Durant has played an absurd amount of minutes the last five years. He has led the league in minutes played three of the last five years. He has played nearly 18,000 minutes during that span, including playoff games. That is some serious mileage.
With the Thunder going deep into the playoffs lately and other Team USA obligations, he hasn’t had much time too rest. As often as we think Durant is not human with what he does on the court, he still is and at some point your body begins to break down, you get mentally fatigued and you just need time off.
So, now he is going to get that time and he absolutely deserves it. Of course we want to see Durant out their bombing 3s from the FIBA three-point line and just doing amazing basketball things this summer, but it is best, if he is not fully committed and believes he needs rest, to rest. We know he will be back for the 2016 Olympics.
But most importantly, he will be fresh and ready to go for the 2014-15 regular season.