Recently, American basketball players have been withdrawing from their spots on the USA team for the FIBA World Cup later this month. Among the players that have stepped down are Demar Derozan, James Harden, Anthony Davis, Damian Lillard, Tobias Harris, Bradley Beal, and C.J. McCollum.
The FIBA World Cup, which kicks off this month, will consist of 32 countries, and the top 7 will qualify automatically for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
If Team USA want to three-peat during the Olympics, doing well this summer would be a good idea.
The first reason why players aren’t playing for the American team is because of the extra workload.
The FIBA World Cup ends on September 15th, and with NBA trainings starting (usually) in late September, the players won’t have a lot of time to rest. The NBA is a much higher priority than the World Cup to most players, and plus, it isn’t even the Olympics.
That’s where the real reward is.
Secondly, the added risk of injury is just too high for most super players.
Exactly five years ago on August 1st, 2014, Paul George suffered a gruesome leg injury while playing in a Team USA training scrimmage. This put him out of the FIBA World Cup and did not allow him to return to his NBA team until 8 months later.
George was lucky. Many players have had their careers derailed by injuries, and George has a great season and career ahead of him in Los Angeles.
Demarcus Cousins is one of those players who have had injuries play a big part in their future. His achilles injury while playing with the Pelicans has lead to the slow downfall in his career after being one of the, if not the, best big-men in the league.
However, with Gregg Popovich coaching the team, they are in good hands no matter what happens.
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