In a shocking development Kevin Durant, the player that was considered all summer as the leader of Team USA in their bid to win the FIBA World Cup, has reportedly decided to withdraw from Team USA citing mental and physical exhaustion, leaving Anthony Davis as perhaps the most important player on the roster heading to Spain in a few weeks.
Hearing Kevin Durant is poised to announce his withdrawal from Team USA’s World Cup trip to Spain. NOT Paul George related, I’m told
— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) August 7, 2014
Durant, I’m told, will cite mental and physical exhaustion when the decision to leave Team USA for this summer is made official — Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) August 7, 2014
The decision greatly impacts Davis who was originally going to be asked to be mostly a rim protector, rebounder and pick-and-roll finisher, to now someone who will be looked at to be one of the three best players on the team at all times as well as the player who plays the most minutes.
The loss of Durant could also signal a move towards a more traditional roster with Davis shifting back to power forward for me than they originally expected minutes to be paired with Andre Drummond or DeMarcus Cousins. There is also a chance that this means a bunch more minutes for Denver Nuggets power forward Kenneth Faried and Dallas Mavericks forward Chandler Parsons which would mean Davis would have to up his rim protecting responsibilities as both are major defensive liabilities.
Davis will also be asked to pick up a bit more of a leadership role as the only players left on the roster with international experience are Davis and Houston Rockets guard James Harden who remain from the 2012 Olympic team and Derrick Rose and Stephen Curry from the 2010 World Cup/World Championship.
The next time we will see Team USA on a court will be on August 14 in Chicago.