Kevin Durant has dropped out of the Team USA FIBA roster, and in his place stands Ruby Gay. What are the best bets for this World Cup of Basketball, as well as next season's NBA futures?
Gay Added To Team USA Roster After Durant Steps Away
The Paul George injury, which has removed the Indiana Pacers from the list of NBA championship contenders for the coming season, has already made its impact felt in another part of the NBA. Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder officially said he was “drained,” and that reason is why he withdrew from the United States’ men’s basketball team before the FIBA World Cup of Basketball later this month in Europe.
What This Means For Team USA
In the immediate aftermath of this decision, the fact that a lot of the Americans’ top players are staying away from this event means that the United States is anything but a lock for a gold medal at the World Cup of Basketball. The Americans lost George to injury, and the likes of LeBron James, Kevin Love, and other NBA superstars are not participating in the event, either. Durant was the team’s best player, but his absence means that Stephen Curry is now the best player on the team. The Americans needed extra scoring punch to exist so that the lack of a quality big man could be camouflaged, but that hope is now gone. James Harden can score, but he’s not that good on defense and doesn’t have Durant’s height. This team, especially if it manages to make it to a gold medal game against Spain, will have all sorts of problems dealing with Marc Gasol in the middle. Durant’s shooting and all-around skills were supposed to act as a counterbalance, but they won’t anymore. Durant will wait for the 2016 Olympic Games, along with LeBron and other NBA megastars.
What This Means For The Oklahoma City Thunder
In contrast to the Americans, this is great news for the Thunder, and those placing NBA picks on them. Durant, like LeBron and Kevin Love, knows that the Olympics are the truly important international basketball tournament, and that this one doesn’t matter as much. Love didn’t make the playoffs, so his decision to step away from the national team is one thing. Durant and LeBron played long playoff seasons, and so resting in the offseason before the next NBA season is the right move for each of them at this stage of their respective careers. The San Antonio Spurs prevented Manu Ginobili from competing for Argentina in the World Cup of Basketball, due to an injury issue. Durant’s own choice to withdraw following the Paul George injury has to make Oklahoma City team officials inwardly pleased, even if they might be outwardly sad that Durant is not representing Team USA.
How To Bet The News
This is a piece of news which should make bettors think long and hard about whether or not to choose the Americans as the gold medal winners in Spain. The Spaniards now look like a co-favorite, and since they’ll be playing at home, they have to like their chances. The Americans should not be seen as the clear or sole favorite in the FIBA event any longer. As for the NBA, the Thunder might have picked up a couple more regular season wins as a result of Durant buying several weeks of added rest time due to this prudent decision.