It has been lower than a 12 months since the USA males’s nationwide basketball workforce was adorned with gold medals for his or her victory in opposition to Spain within the 2012 London Olympics finals. In what ought to have been a quiet summer season for Group USA, they’ve been making headlines for LeBron James seemingly ending his profession with the workforce, with the latest announcement that he is not going to take part in 2014’s FIBA Basketball World Cup. He’s seemingly additionally out of the 2016 Olympics Video games in Rio de Janiero. James averaged 13.3 factors per sport within the London video games and was named MVP within the London Video games. He’s the face of not solely the NBA, however worldwide basketball as properly.
LeBron’s sneakers are laborious to fill, however many different gamers have stepped up into the highlight. The brand new period of USA Basketball will likely be headed by Kevin Durant. Durant shined within the London video games, averaging 19.5 factors and 5.8 rebounds per sport. He additionally shot 52% from downtown, hitting 34 three-pointers in eight video games. Many followers questioned whether or not Durant would play on the earth championship, so his dedication to the workforce provides them a go-to scorer that can put up huge numbers to assist the workforce excel. “It is USA. That is it,” Durant instructed USA TODAY Sports activities. “To play amongst the world and journey all through this stunning world and play basketball, you may’t beat that. It is an excellent alternative.”
One other man coming off a robust efficiency within the 2012 Olympics and can board a airplane to Spain subsequent summer season is Kevin Love. Love averaged 11.6 factors, and led the workforce in rebounds at 7.6 per sport in London. Love’s presence on the boards was a key issue to Group USA’s success, particularly in opposition to the peak of Spain led by the Gasol brothers. Though he sat out components of the 2012-2013 NBA season, if he can keep wholesome for the 2014 World Cup, there isn’t any doubt he will likely be a famous person for the squad.
Making a giant splash within the workforce’s minicamp are energy ahead Anthony Davis and guard Kyrie Irving. Throughout Group USA’s inside scrimmage on July 26, Irving and Davis have been wonderful on offense, scoring 23 and 22 respectively. Irving dished out seven assists, main all gamers, and Davis picked up seven boards. Though Davis and the Hornets had a disappointing rookie season, he has expertise taking part in on the worldwide stage and has a gold medal with the 2012 workforce. Irving has emerged as one of the thrilling level guards within the league. He averaged 22.5 factors final season and was named an All Star as solely a sophomore to the affiliation. With the acquisition of middle Andrew Bynum and #1 choose Anthony Bennett within the 2013 NBA Draft, Irving and the Cleveland Cavaliers have lofty expectations for the 2013-2014 NBA season.
A man who has been projected to hitch Irving on the guard place is Stephen Curry. Curry grew to become a fan favourite within the 2013 NBA Playoffs the place he averaged 23.4 factors per sport. He’s a sharpshooter from the three level line, and his 18 three pointers in his first 4 playoffs sport is an NBA file. He can change the tempo of the sport and has potential to be a high 5 level guard within the upcoming years. Paul George one other participant who emerged within the highlight of the playoffs is anticipated to play for the USA. George averaged 17.4 factors within the common season for the Indiana Pacers and 19.2 factors within the 2013 playoffs. He has confirmed to carry out within the clutch, hitting a three-point area purpose on the finish of the fourth quarter in sport one in opposition to the Miami Warmth within the Japanese Convention semi-finals. His dimension, 6’8 toes and 220 kilos, is similar to LeBron’s, and there’s no doubt he can be a good substitute within the small ahead place for the USA.
Huge query marks stay with Russell Westbrook, Chris Paul and James Harden. As of proper now they don’t have plans to take part within the World Cup, but when they do turn out to be subsequent summer season there isn’t any doubt room on the roster will likely be made for the gold medal winners. Paul has come out in a press release saying he’s leaning in direction of taking part in within the 2016 Rio Video games, however the potential for him taking part in in Spain remains to be within the air.
With the mixture of veterans, younger expertise and an unbelievable teaching workers led by future Corridor Of Famer Coach Mike Krzyzewski, the USA ought to be in competition for high spot in Spain subsequent summer season. Though they’re shedding huge names in LeBron, Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade and probably Paul, the NBA nonetheless has a historical past of manufacturing the world’s finest basketball gamers, incomes the gold medal 14 out of their 17 appearances within the Olympic Video games. Behind Durant, Love, and Irving, the workforce ought to proceed to shine on the worldwide stage and present the world that they will nonetheless win with out LeBron within the World Cup and ultimately, the Olympics.
This visitor put up was contributed by Heather McDevitt — she is a Boston Celtics fan with a BA Public Relations from Penn State.