Even without Pau Gasol in Spain’s roster, team USA was still the unlikely candidate to win the FIBA world championship. They were labeled a “B team” which was nowhere deep and talented as their Olympic counterparts with Kobe, Lebron, Melo and Wade. They only have one legitimate center in Tyson Chandler but he wasn’t part of the starting five either. That spot belongs to Lamar Odom the 6-foot-10 power forward from the Los Angeles Lakers who is clearly undersized against a number of European centers. But Kevin Durant never doubted himself or his team’s chances on bringing home the gold. It wasn’t how he was brought up.
Long before Kevin was drafted in the NBA, he played under Rick Barnes in University of Texas. Barnes admitted that he rarely calls a set play relying on Durant’s offense and his judgment in finding his teammates and making himself open in the flow of their offense. That is how confident and reliable Durant is and he knows only one option… to get the gold and go home.
Team USA brought home the gold by beating the then undefeated and host Turkey in an 81-64 blowout. It wasn’t all about Kevin Durant’s scoring prowess it was all about total team defense and dedication all throughout the tournament. They were undersized but they highly compensated that in playing superbly good defense and fast break plays. It was a total team effort without the superstars from the Olympic gold medal team that played in Beijing.
Being labeled as a “B team” was added motivation to them, to win and to prove everybody wrong. Coach Mike Krzyzewski called this team as an unconventional team knowing they could win as many games as they want to but it would be a lot harder and needs a lot of team work and dedication to make it happen.
Team USA held Turkey on their championship game to only one field goal over the first 6 minutes of the second quarter and blasted the host team throughout the game right in front of the raucous crowd. Kevin Durant was criticized before the tournament started that he wasn’t shooting as much as they wanted him to. But KD knows that when the time the team needs him he will be there to deliver. Scoring two 38-point games and was named as the tournament’s MVP. He was there to knock those dagger threes with ice on his veins when the opponents are starting to creep in close.
Kevin Durant led team USA to a gold medal in the FIBA world championship, a feat that was last won by the US 16 years ago and there was no team A or team B only team U-S-A. Conventional or eccentric what matters is the outcome. And Kevin doesn’t mind if many doubted them or when he was only drafted second to Greg Oden or his team the Oklahoma City thunder couldn’t get into the playoffs he just welcome everything as a challenge because amidst all the doubts and critics that is where Kevin Delivers.