Citing physical and emotional reasons, Kevin Durant has announced he withdraws from the US national team and will not be playing in the 2014 basketball World Cup.
Paul George broke his leg in a scrimmage while training for next month’s games in Spain, but Kevin Durant said that had nothing to do with his decision.
However, after watching his Oklahoma City Thunder teammate Russell Westbrook go through three knee surgeries, and then playing extended minutes because he was out, Kevin Durant may have decided the extra wear on his body and mind would be too much.
“This was an extremely difficult decision as I take great pride in representing our country,” Kevin Durant said in a statement.
“After going through training camp, 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.”
Kevin Durant was third in the league in minutes played last season, averaging 38.5 per game. He was third in minutes played in the playoffs, averaging 42.9.
He is the biggest loss yet for a weakening American squad that will go to Spain without the leading scorer on its past two gold medal winners.
The NBA’s MVP took part in the Americans’ training camp in Las Vegas last week, but then informed team officials that he wasn’t going to continue.
At 6-foot-10, Kevin Durant is big enough to play as a power forward internationally, creating a matchup nightmare for opponents who can’t defend him on the perimeter. He led the tournament in 3-pointers attempted and made in the 2010 worlds.
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