Saturday , Aug , 18 , 2007 Oly Sandor

Cutting Seattle SuperSonic Kevin Durant Would Hurt Team USA’s Future, Need To Consider Taxi-Squad

So why not keep the teenager around? Why not let Durant practice with the team, fetch water for Jason Kidd and serve his country as a cheerleader? Exposing him to the FIBA atmosphere will benefit USA Basketball in the future. When Durant gets the chance to represent his country in two or four years, he’ll have experience to draw-on and the international game won’t be so foreign …

The Los Angeles Times reports on Durant’s future with the red, white, and blue:

Based on the first three days of Team USA workouts, the two most likely candidates to be cut are Seattle forwards Nick Collison and Kevin Durant. Although Team USA is already thin inside with Chris Bosh withdrawing from the team because of a foot injury and Collison’s strength is his defense and willingness to bang inside, coach Mike Krzyzewski seems to be inclined to feature more versatile perimeter players, including sharpshooters Michael Redd and Mike Miller. In Durant, the No. 2 overall pick in this year’s draft, Krzyzewski said: "He’s a special player but he’s young. That’s just the way it is. He’s solid and he keeps getting better every day, but it’s going to come down to what we need right now."

My Quick Take: Coach Kryzyzewski is right about two things. First, Durant is young,and raw. Second, Durant is special. In fact, he’s so special that the lanky swing might eventually develop into the poster boy for USA Basketball.

So why not keep the teenager around? Why not let Durant practice with the team, fetch water for and serve his country as a cheerleader?

Exposing him to the FIBA atmosphere will benefit USA Basketball in the future. When Durant gets the chance to play for his country in two or four years, he’ll have experience to draw-on and the international game won’t be so foreign.

I understand the coaching staff’s dilemma. They have to pick the best players for a limited number of positions. Their focus is now. And their job is to qualify for the Olympics and win gold in China . Nothing else matters. And nothing else is important to them.

But USA Basketball is no longer the world’s top dog in international hoops. The organization has to consider player development and mentoring future stars.

Naming Carmelo Anthony, , and team captains was a good first step. Now Star and Stripes should implement a taxi squad system, where up-and-coming players like Durant practice with the team, but don’t see game action.

Perhaps, something could be arranged so taxi-squad players don’t take official roster spots? Bottom line, USA Basketball needs to think about developing players.

Should Durant be kept on Team USA specifically for the future? Get at us in the comment box below with your thoughts.

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