Kevin Durant left Team USA unexpectedly citing exhaustion as the cause which has had an effect on the FIBA World Cup odds and will perhaps have a positive influence on the Thunder this season.
Durant Says No Mas
Allow me to hypocritical for just a moment. I don’t have a great deal of sympathy for multi-millionaires playing kid’s games who complain about, well, just about anything. Even good guys like Kevin Durant now whine about the struggle of coming off an NBA season in order to represent their country in international competition.
Hey Kevin, try banging shingles on some old ladies roof in the middle of the blazing sun for ten hours a day and then battle rush hour traffic in your sweat drenched T-shirt only to come home to a pair of hysterical toddlers who are screeching like they’ve got hot pokers in their eyeballs who won’t let you relax, never mind sleep. Then rinse and repeat everyday of your adult life until you can mercifully retire on an SSI check that will get you through about three weeks of the month until it runs out. The fourth week you’re on your own. That my friend is exhaustion.
Durant Has the Right Idea
Now that my rant is over allow me to completely contradict myself. Kevin Durant is a premier athlete and has abilities we mortals can only imagine. Professional athletes plying their trades in the United States (and in some instances Canada) are getting paid mega dollars to perform for their respective clubs. I find it jaw-dropping that they are allowed to compete in international competition that is only important to the rest of the world.
The United States should be represented by college athletes vis-a-vis the circa pre 1992 Olympic Games. As much as we may want our country to win, is that more important than putting the very best players on the planet in harm’s way? And by the way, the same rule should apply for all NBA players who represent their native lands other than the United States. The most recent case in point is the devastating injury to Paul George of the Indiana Pacers who fractured his right leg while scrimmaging with Team USA last week. Not only is his season over before it began but it significantly jeopardizes the Pacers aspirations of contending. In addition, it may also put George’s career in peril. Is that really worth it? Will anyone remember who won this year’s FIBA world Cup within a few months time? Or how about Daisuke Matsuzaka representing his native Japan in the World Baseball Classic in 2009 which caused him to miss most of spring training while he was pitching his country to a title but had nothing left in the tank for the team that paid him tens of millions, the Boston Red Sox. It was the beginning of the end for Matsuzaka and left Boston holding the bag.
It’s nonsense and Durant is wise to forego this exhibition season and be rested and ready for the people who pay his enormous salary. He also owes it to the guy pounding nails on top of a hot roof who saves what little he has to escape his humdrum existence at least for a night, take in a game and watch poetry in motion.
Team USA Odds Rise
Now that Kevin Durant is out of the picture the FIBA odds on Team USA have risen slightly from 2-7 to 2-5 while closest competitor Team Spain has seen their FIBA odds drop from 5-2 to 2-1. Team USA is still the odds on favorite to win the FIBA World Cup but will anyone really notice?
More to the point, those who are choosing the Oklahoma City Thunder as their choice in NBA odds to win the West and/or the NBA championship have to be relieved with Durant’s choice. Bet365.com has Oklahoma City at +260 in NBA odds to win the West and is +550 to win it all. Kevin Durant has given Thunder fans and backers alike hope for a title this season.