Updates from Thursday, Aug. 14
Jay Cohen of The Associated Press passes along comments from director of USA Basketball Jerry Colangelo, who spoke about Kevin Durant's decision:
Team USA has been dealt obstacle after obstacle in terms of building a FIBA World Cup roster over the last month, but on Thursday, the team announced its biggest loss of the summer.
USA Basketball revealed Kevin Durant is officially withdrawing from the competition.
Yahoo Sports' Marc J. Spears previously passed along the announcement from director of Team USA basketball Jerry Colangelo:
Durant commented on his decision, per The Oklahoman's Darnell Mayberry:
Spears also had more on Durant's thought process:
Mayberry also provided thoughts from Oklahoma City Thunder general manager Sam Presti:
We don't have to tell you what kind of loss this is for the red, white and blue. With no LeBron James on the squad, Durant was the clear go-to player for Mike Krzyzewski's squad.
The reigning MVP averaged 32.0 points, 7.4 rebounds and 5.5 assists per game last season, finishing with a silly true-shooting percentage of 63.5 percent. He led the NBA in player efficiency rating (29.8), win shares (19.2) and win shares per 48 minutes (.295).
Moreover, as a 6'9" specimen who can dribble, shoot, rebound and play either forward position, he is built for the international game. That was clear when he led Team USA in scoring (19.5 points per game) during the squad's gold-medal romp in London in 2012.
Still, while his importance can't be overstated, you can't really blame him for this kind of decision.
He just watched teammate Paul George go down with a horrific injury, and he's coming off a season in which he logged an NBA-high 3,937 minutes (regular season and playoffs) last year. He's drained in more ways than one.
ESPN's Royce Young and Fran Fraschilla added to that point:
Overall, it's bad news for the Americans' chances in Spain next month. Anthony Davis and James Harden are now the only remaining members from the 2012 gold-medal-winning squad, and they logged fewer minutes than anyone on that team. The depth at the forward positions continues to just whittle away.
Still, this team is not void of talent. This provides yet another opportunity for USA's younger players to gain valuable experience and prove their worth on the international stage.
Unless otherwise noted, all statistics courtesy of Basketball-Reference.com.
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