USA vs. Spain: Kevin Durant Proves Why He Will Be Leader of Team USA in Rio

Austin GreenCorrespondent IDecember 22, 2016

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 12:  Kevin Durant #5 of the United States celebrates making a three point shot during the Men's Basketball gold medal game between the United States and Spain on Day 16 of the London 2012 Olympics Games at North Greenwich Arena on August 12, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

With his 30-point outburst in the gold-medal game of the 2012 Olympics, Kevin Durant proved that he is ready to be the leader of Team USA when they head to Rio in four years.

When the 2016 Games roll around, Kobe Bryant will be 37 and LeBron James will just have completed his 13th NBA season. While LeBron will still be a superstar at age 31, the mileage of numerous deep playoff runs will eventually wear him down, just as they did to Bryant.

James will still be a physical force, and he will likely be the vocal and inspirational leader of that team. But when Team USA needs a big play or two to save them in Rio, you can expect Durant to provide the heroics.

At just 23 years old, Durant has already accomplished a shocking amount in his young NBA career. In just five years, he's already been selected to the All-Star team and All-NBA first team three times, capturing the league's scoring title in each of those seasons.

Unlike many stars, his individual performances have also equated to remarkable team success. He led the Oklahoma City Thunder to the NBA Finals this season, and two summers ago, he was the catalyst of the USA's gold-medal team at the FIBA World Championships in Turkey.

By the time the 2016 Olympics arrive, Durant will be even better, as he will be entering his physical prime at 27. Durant is already the second-best player on the planet, and it's downright frightening to think of how good he will become in four years time.

Unfortunately for the rest of the world, the nightmare of facing an improved Kevin Durant will become a reality in 2016. As always, Team USA will be stacked with elite players, many of whom are capable of dominating.

When they need someone to save them, though, it will be Durant who steps up as the leader on the court.