With several of the NBA’s top stars unavailable for this year’s edition of Team USA, another group of guys have been handed the reigns. And as the team that scores the most points is the one who wins, super-scorer Kevin Durant plays a huge role on the squad.

Pete Thamel of the New York Times reports:

Kevin Durant a huge part of Team USA

Durant, 21, became the youngest N.B.A. scoring champion last season, and the world championship offers him a platform to move into the elite constellation of N.B.A. stars. His supple jump shot and freakish athleticism will be on display Sunday at Madison Square Garden, where the United States plays France before heading to Europe.

And Durant, a player hallmarked by loyalty and humility, will get a forum on the world stage at a time when James’s off-season free-agency spectacle prompted eye rolls.

So with no players from the 2008 Olympic Redeem Team representing the United States this summer, the coalescence of Durant’s talent and image could not be a better one.

“He’s the whole package,” said Jerry Colangelo, USA Basketball’s managing director. “This is his opportunity to come forth on an international stage.”

It’ll be interesting to see how Durant gets his points. What moves he makes to generate offense and how they will differ in international spacing vs NBA play.


Oklahoma City Thunder's Kevin Durant of the 2010 USA Men's World Championship team reacts after a shot during practice in Tarrytown, New York August 13, 2010. REUTERS/Jessica Rinaldi (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)